|“||They say in every library there is a single book that can answer the question that burns like a fire in the mind.||”|
— Dashiell Qwerty, Who Could That Be at This Hour?
Dashiell Qwerty is the sub-librarian of Stain'd-by-the-Sea's library and a member of VFD.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Physical Appearance
- 3 Quotes
- 4 Trivia
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Sources
Dashiell Qwerty was a member of VFD who was positioned as a sub-librarian in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. He was only a sub-librarian because the poor town could not afford a permanent one. He befriended several of the children in town, such as Jake Hix and Moxie Mallahan, and he introduced them to several of their favorite authors. He also would go to Black Cat Coffee on occasion.
Qwerty seems to have information on Hangfire and the Inhumane Society's plots, as he constantly recommends relevant materials to the children investigating them, and he seems to have had crucial information on Hangfire and the Bombinating Beast that led to his eventual murder.
|“||You'd be surprised at how often one book is slipped into the cover of another.||”|
— Dashiell Qwerty, Who Could That Be at This Hour?
Lemony Snicket enters the library and finds Qwerty at his desk, swatting at several moths. He suggests that Snicket research Dame Sally Murphy, but Snicket asks to look up old stories about strange creatures. Qwerty leads him to the mythology section ane allows him to browse on his own. When Stew Mitchum arrives an antagonizes Snicket, Qwerty orders him to leave. He informs Snicket that Stew is a nuisance.
Snicket is told that he can't check out books, as he does not live in town, Qwerty informs him that he can come in and read anything he likes, again implying that he is interested in theater. He also tells him that he can request a book in the city, and Snicket uses the opportunity to send his sister a message at the Fourier Branch, saying, "Sorry, But I Cannot Meet You At The Fountain."
Snicket returns the next day, as Qwerty is about to unpack the zoological books. He informs Snicket that he received a request from the Fourier branch, reading "Don T. Worry, I'll Measure It Myself." Snicket requests another book, "Please, Be Very, Very Careful." Snicket later finds Qwerty checking the book jackets, telling him that often something is slipped into the cover of another, cluing Snicket in that he was not given the Bombinating Beast statue, as he'd thought.
When Snicket manages to get the real Bombinating Beast statue, he hides it in the library, replacing the lump in the hidden package with three books and hiding the statue behind An Analysis of Brown, Black and Beige.
Qwerty curiously witnesses Snicket and Ellington Feint enter the library the next day to retrieve the statue.
|“||Serendipity is a happy accident. In a library, that could mean finding something you didn't know you were looking for.||”|
— Dashiell Qwerty, When Did You See Her Last?
As some books have gone missing recently- presumably the books Snicket snuck out- Qwerty begins to completely reorganize the library, and install a sprinkler system to prevent fire. When Snicket and Moxie enter, Qwerty recommends them the book Despair, mentioning that the plot involves "two people who do not look at all alike but nevertheless hatch a nefarious plan" (implying that he knows about Ellington and Cleo Knight's situations).
After beginning to research chemistry and Colonel Colophon, Snicket finds Qwerty reading a book on oysters, and asks if he has any books on laudanum or other sleeping draughts, histories of chemical espionage, or anything about Colonel Colophon and the clinic named after him. Qwerty then informs the apprentice that most of those books were just checked out, and Snicket sees a woman leaving with several books, and sees that she'd returned the three books he'd smuggled out and sent to Hangfire as a decoy statue. Qwerty, per his duty as a librarian, does not reveal any information about her, so Snicket follows her out.
While Moxie is still researching, Qwerty stops by to check on her and leaves a book on the table that clues her into the Inhumane Society's involvement with Colonel Colophon.
|“||Look at it this way, Snicket. To a stranger in town, such as yourself, Stain'd-by-the-Sea is full of suspicious incidents. But to the people of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, you're a suspicious incident yourself.||”|
— Dashiell Qwerty, File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents: Incident 13, "Figure in Fog"
Qwerty interrupts Snicket as he reads a book and asks if he could help some patrons of his, as the boy's become known to be good at helping people, and also the library is closing and he probably has nothing better to do. Snicket agrees, and Qwerty closes up the library and brings him through the quiet streets of town. After several blocks, Qwerty leads him through a hole in a chain-link fence to meet his patrons- a group of drifters who are currently visiting Stain'd-by-the-Sea.
Qwerty takes him to a shady spot of trees, where the drifters have set up camp. The group greets him warmly, asking if he's going to read to them again, as he'd left them the night before on a cliffhanger "where the bookcase fell on him." Qwerty reminds them that they'd told him that Randall had some trouble, and he'd brought Snicket to help. Snicket listens to Randall's story, and then Qwerty walks him home.
Snicket recieves a message asking for help retrieving a postcard, and he follows some clues to the library, where Qwerty is shaking ou ta book, as "a certain reader" tends to leave things behind in books she borrows, such as two shed snakeskins and a very fine doily. Snicket goes to the dictionary, and when he can't find what he's looking for, he asks the sub-librarian about the Yamgraz. Qwerty gets excited and tells him that the Yamgraz were the indigenous people of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, and that they were now gone due to the colonization of Stain'd-by-the-Sea that took away their chief product, the oysters. He brings Snicket to the history section, where he finds the book he was looking for that holds the lost postcard.
Figure in Fog
After Snicket gets disinterested in a book and decides to leave the library, he asks Qwerty how the outside is so foggy if there's no large bodies of water left in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, as he finds this fact suspicious, as well as several things around town. Qwerty reminds him that while these may all seem like suspicious incidents to him, he himself is a suspicious incident to the town. He asks Snicket what he's up to, to which Snicket replies that he'd like to take a walk.
|“||You don’t spend your life hanging around books without learning a thing or two.||”|
— Dashiell Qwerty, Shouldn't You Be in School?
At some point, Qwerty arranged to deliver Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea to Ellington Feint, in order to help her figure out Hangfire's plot.
Qwerty checks up on Snicket, who is supposedly reading Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea. He recommends Italian dictionaries to him and tells him that he'd just installed the sprinkler system in the library in case of fire and that the controls had just been put into the northeast corner of the library. When Moxie enters, looking for Lemony, Qwerty excuses himself and starts swatting at moths. S. Theodora Markson and Snicket start investigating a supposed string of arsons in town. As two of the buildings hit- one that provided wool for the moths of a man named Harold Limetta and Harold Limetta's own home, which housed the moths, Theodora and Sharon Haines conclude that Qwerty is the arsonist, as he would want to get rid of the moths that plague his library. Qwerty figures out that he's being framed and goes to Black Cat Coffee, where he meets Snicket before Harvey and Mimi Mitchum arrive to arrest him. Qwerty asks that Snicket deliver Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea to Ellington, and tells him that "if there's a book [he] wanted to finish," he should do it soon.
|“||Villainy can win against one library, but not against an organization of readers.||”|
— Dashiell Qwerty, Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
Qwerty is put onto the train that goes from Stain'd-by-the-Sea to the city in order for trial. He is kept in Prison Car One with Ellington Feint, who had been arrested for supposedly trying to burn down the library; Qwerty is informed that while the library was not set on fire, the sprinkler systems destroyed the books inside- most importantly, Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea.
Having figured out that Qwerty was her VFD monitor, S. Theodora Markson sneaks onto the train disguised as a conductor, bringing another disguise for Qwerty. Qwerty refuses to leave, wanting to deliver important information about Hangfire to the city that will be able to put a stop to his plans, but Theodora keeps insisting, caring mainly about her evaluation marks.
At that time, Stew Mitchum, working for the Inhumane Society, crashes through the window of the train and murders Qwerty with a poison dart, intending to frame Theodora for the crime.
Later, Jake asks Snicket why, if he suspected Qwerty was a member of VFD, he never asked him; Snicket responds that "You don't ask if someone has integrity and pluck and has read a great many books in the hope of repairing the world. You just watch them, and figure it out for yourself."
- Mimi Mitchum: That ruffian. I don't trust anyone who doesn't spend time on his appearance.
- Lemony Snicket: I'd say he spent lots of time. That haircut looked like it took hours.
Snicket describes Qwerty as being "younger than the father of anyone [he] knew" and younger than librarians are thought to be, as well as having a "ragged, angular mess" of hair. He usually wears a black leather jacket decorated with small scraps of metal.
He is described as having an incredibly deep voice and almost always having a blank expression on his face. He also often has a pencil kept behind his ear.
- Lemony Snicket: I am looking for information on local legends.
- Dashiell Qwerty: Dame Sally Murphy is probably Stain'd-by-the-Sea's most famous actress. There should be a book about her career in the Theater Section.
- Dashiell Qwerty: STEW. Leave this library at once.
- Stew Mitchum: I'm allowed in here. This is a public library.
|“||I'm sorry about that. Stew Mitchum is like something stuck at the bottom of a waste bin. I try and try to throw him out, but he just sticks there, getting older and older. Did you find what you were looking for?||”|
— Chapter Four
|“||So your complete request is 'Sorry, But I Cannot Meet You at the Fountain. '||”|
— Chapter Four
- Lemony Snicket: That reminds me. Have you heard back from the Fourier Branch about that book I ordered?
- Dashiell Qwerty: "But I cannot meet you at the Fountain," by that Belgian author? No, nothing yet, I'm afraid. Although I did receive a somewhat mysterious request from that very branch. Someone is looking for a book I've never heard of before.
|“||Very often you expect one thing from looking at the outside of it, but when you open it, there's something else entirely.||”|
— Chapter Eight
- Dashiell Qwerty: I see you're still carrying the same burden I saw you with this morning.
- Lemony Snicket: So it would appear.
- Lemony Snicket: I was just looking for something to read.
- Qwerty, making a wide gesture: Make yourself at home.
|“||I was wondering who might come in at this hour.||”|
— Chapter Twelve
|“||Apologies for the mess. We've had some recent concerns, so the library is taking some precautionary measures.||”|
— Chapter Six
|“||In the meantime, if you’re looking for a good book to read, allow me to recommend a book I like called Despair. The plot concerns two people who do not look at all alike but nevertheless hatch a nefarious plan.||”|
— Chapter Six
- Lemony Snicket: Excuse me, but I haven't found what I'm looking for.
- Dashiell Qwerty: A common complaint.
- Lemony Snicket: Who is that? Who checked out those books?
- Dashiell Qwerty: A librarian doesn't reveal information like that. Who you are and what you read is private in a library. The world-
- Dashiell Qwerty: I hate to interrupt.
- Lemony Snicket: It's quite all right.
- Dashiell Qwerty: They're a group of people who move from town to town.
- Lemony Snicket: So they're not citizen of Stain'd-by-the-Sea.
|“||That a handsome dog, Randall.||”|
— "Silver Spoon"
|“||Don't mind me. A certain reader in town always leaves things behind in the books she borrows. Last month I found two shed snakeskins and a daily that was quite finely mine.||”|
— "Vanished Message"
- Lemony Snicket: Qwerty, it's not here.
- Dashiell Qwerty: What's not here?
|“||Anything more I can get you?||”|
— "Vanished Message"
|“||Leaving so soon? I should think on a day like this you'd want to stay inside and read a book, not wander around town.||”|
— "Figure in Fog"
- Dashiell Qwerty: What are you up to, Snicket?
- Lemony Snicket: I couldn't find anything good to read, so I thought I'd take a walk.
|“||I was just checking to see if you had found everything you need. There are some new Italian dictionaries that I thought you might find interesting.||”|
— Chapter One
- Lemony Snicket: You've mentioned those threats before, but you've never said anything more about them.
- Dashiell Qwerty: Yes, I have, and no, I haven't.
- Lemony Snicket: I've never seen you here, particularly during branch hours.
- Dashiell Qwerty: I like the coffee. I don't know when I'll get another cup.
- Lemony Snicket: I know you didn't burn those buildings down.
- Dashiell Qwerty: You know no such thing. There are people in this town who believe I'm a criminal, and soon there will be many more. There might as well be a picture of me in the dictionary, inked under A for arsonist.'
- Dashiell Qwerty: Be careful, Snicket.
- Lemony Snicket: Worry about yourself, Qwerty. You're the one going to jail.
|“||I know what I'm doing, Theodora, and I can't have you mucking it up.||”|
— Chapter Four
|“||I have information that can stop Hangfire.||”|
— Chapter Four
|“||What are you doing?||”|
— Chapter Four
- His first name is most likely a reference to mystery writer Dashiell Hammett. Snicket's first case, where he and his chaperone are hired to find a statue of the Bombinating Beast, bears a strong resemblance to the plot of Hammett's novel The Maltese Falcon.
- His surname is a reference to the first six letters on a standard English keyboard or typewriter.
- According to one Snicketmail, "the librarian weep[s] every night". Since Dashiell is the only librarian in the book, it is likely a reference to him.
- His title of sub-librarian is reminiscent of Dewey Denouement's title of sub-sub-librarian.
- In both Who Could That Be at This Hour? and Shouldn't You Be in School?, Qwerty says that "in every library there is a single book that can answer the question that burns like a fire in the mind." This quote is referenced twice in Netflix's television adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- It is quoted first in "The Miserable Mill: Part One", when Violet Baudelaire finds the quote written into the beginning of a dictionary by her father, Bertrand Baudelaire. (Notably, Bertrand was S. Theodora Markson's former apprentice.)
- The second time it is quoted is by Olivia Caliban in "The Austere Academy: Part One." When asked where she learned that phrase, Olivia says that she doesn't know, and that she thinks she must have read it somewhere.