- For the real-life author, see Daniel Handler.
|“||Strange as it may seem, I still hope for the best, even though the best, like an interesting piece of mail, so rarely arrives, and even when it does it can be lost so easily.||”|
— Lemony Snicket, The Beatrice Letters
Lemony Snicket is a mysterious novelist who is best known as the narrator and author of A Series of Unfortunate Events series. The series covers his research on the lives of Beatrice Baudelaire's three children and documents their tragic experiences. He is also the protagonist and author of the All the Wrong Questions, which covers events from when he was a 12-year-old VFD apprentice. In addition, he has written several childrens' books and contributed to other publications.
- 1 The Afflicted Author
- 2 Personality
- 3 Biography
- 3.1 Early life
- 3.2 VFD Training
- 3.3 Who Could That Be at This Hour?
- 3.4 When Did You See Her Last?
- 3.5 File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents
- 3.5.1 Inside Job/Black Paint
- 3.5.2 Pinched Creature/Dishonest Salesman
- 3.5.3 Ransom Note/Loud Dog
- 3.5.4 Walkie-Talkie/Through the Window
- 3.5.5 Bad Gang/Homemade Furniture
- 3.5.6 Silver Spoon/Twenty-Five Guests
- 3.5.7 Violent Butcher/Small Sound
- 3.5.8 Twelve or Thirteen/Scratched Name
- 3.5.9 Midnight Demon/Panicked Feet
- 3.5.10 Three Suspects/Very Obvious
- 3.5.11 Vanished Message/Message Received
- 3.5.12 Troublesome Ghost/Train Wreck
- 3.5.13 Figure in Fog/Shouted Word
- 3.6 Shouldn't You Be in School?
- 3.7 Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
- 3.8 You Choose the Mystery
- 3.9 The Hero of the Story
- 3.10 Adulthood
- 3.11 Life on the Lam
- 3.12 A Series of Unfortunate Events
- 3.13 The Beatrice Letters
- 4 Netflix Series Divergent Canon
- 5 Physical Appearance
- 6 Works
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Family
- 10 Appearances
- 11 Gallery
- 12 Sources
The Afflicted Author
The following biography appears on Snicket's official website:
- Mr. Snicket rarely appears in public, but when he does, it is best to avoid him. Fortunately, space at his events is limited.
- Lemony Snicket was born before you were, and is likely to die before you as well. His family has roots in a part of the country which is now underwater, and his childhood was spent in the relative splendor of the Snicket Villa which has since become a factory, a fortress, a pharmacy and alas, is now, someone else's villa. To the untrained eye, Mr. Snicket's hometown would not appear to be filled with secrets. Untrained eyes have been wrong before.
- The aftermath of the scandal was swift, brutal and inaccurately reported in the periodicals of the day. It is true, however, that Mr. Snicket was stripped of several awards by the reigning authorities, including Honorable Mention, the Grey Ribbon and First Runner Up. The High Council reached a convenient if questionable verdict and Mr. Snicket found himself in exile.
- Though his formal training was chiefly in rhetorical analysis, he has spent the last several eras researching the travails of the Baudelaire orphans. This project, being published serially by HarperCollins, takes him to the scenes of numerous crimes, often during the offseason. Eternally pursued and insatiably inquisitive, a hermit and a nomad, Mr. Snicket wishes you nothing but the best.
- Due to the world-wide-web of conspiracy which surrounds him, Mr. Snicket often communicates with the general public through his representative, Daniel Handler. Mr. Handler has had a relatively uneventful life and is the author of three books for adults, The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, and Adverbs, none of which are anywhere near as dreadful as Mr. Snicket's. Like Mr. Snicket, Mr. Handler wishes you nothing but the best.
- Mr. Snicket's investigations usually prevent him from being anywhere near any electronic equipment or postal paraphernalia, however, if you feel you must send word to him, you can write him at:
- via post:
- Mr. Snicket
- HarperCollins Children's Books
- 10 East 53rd Street
- New York, New York 10022
Lemony Snicket is very intelligent and studious. As shown in All the Wrong Questions, he believes in doing what is right even when he is scared. He is willing to risk injury to himself to help others. He is also very determined to catch Hangfire. Snicket is wise for his years and at times philosophical.
As he became older, he became more cynical. In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Snicket comes off as an extremely morbidly depressed narrator who hangs around graveyards and is in constant mourning of his deceased love, Beatrice Baudelaire. He has a morbidly humorous outlook on life. He is often brutally honest and sometimes rather savage with his words, such as saying a jar of mustard would probably be more helpful to the Baudelaires than Mr. Poe and calling Carmelita Spats a "filthy little girl".
He is often portrayed as being camera-shy, avoiding his face to be seen in photographs. As such, Daniel Handler had to represent him at many real-world events. In the film, he is only seen in shadows. However, this aspect of him was changed in the Netflix adaptation, and his face is shown openly throughout - though it is made clear that, as in the books, he is still in hiding from his enemies in the series.
In A Series of Unfortunate Events, he often encourages the reader not to read the books and go read something more pleasant.
|“||And then they took him, yea they took him / They took him far away / They took him in the dead of night / Beneath a moon of gray. / They took him from the kitchen / Like you'd take a midnight snack / The V.F.D. they took him / And they never brought him back.||”|
Snicket was born at Valorous Farms Dairy to Jacob Snicket and E. Snicket, while his parents were there to buy garlic butter. He had two older siblings, Jacques Snicket and Kit Snicket. The cheesemakers who lived on the premises became family associates. Snicket was later told that as an infant, he "liked looking in mirrors and sticking his toes into his mouth."
As a baby, Snicket was kidnapped by V.F.D from his kitchen on February 26. He was taken in the middle of the night and was carried out of the Snicket home by his ankles. While in the car, the volunteers that took him showed him a photo of him as a baby sleeping in his crib to prove that they had been watching him since his birth. (Snicket later claimed that he was not recruited while in diapers, though he did not seem to have any proof.)
At some point in time, he received a tattoo of the letters V.F.D. on his ankle, like Count Olaf. It is also noted that Lemony was rather close with his sister, Kit Snicket, his brother, Jacques Snicket, and numerous other V.F.D. members such as Captain Widdershins, Josephine and Hector.
At an unknown point in time, Lemony received a small wooden box from his grandfather that was five hundred years old and worked according to a secret code, which his grandfather taught him, and learned from his grandfather, and so on. The small wooden box has a lock opened by code, and contains a small silver key, which opens a larger wooden box given to him by a woman "whom [his] grandfather always refused to speak about." The larger box contains a map of The City, a roll of parchment, and has every detail written in dark blue ink, with measurements of buildings, sketches of costumes and charts of changes in the weather in the margins added by the map's deceased twelve previous owners. It also includes details of the VFD tunnel system.
|“||Do the scary thing first, and get scared later.||”|
— Lemony Snicket
Snicket's VFD training began when he was very young. However, he was known for arguing with his teachers until they became so flustered they simply told him to get to work.
He recounts several incidents during his training; for instance, he was taught that he should never have a serious conversation in a position in which he would have to look up at the other person, and when he pointed out that as children, they tended to be shorter than everyone else, he was punished by having to sit in the corner. He also spent a school year following strangers to learn about them. At some point, he had an Eavesdropping Instructor, and learned in "what most people would call a history class" how to hide things in plain sight. He also mentioned being forced to endure multiple fire drills.He mentioned having snuck into a teacher's office to find out information for their sneaking test. He passed top of the class and recieved a three-month suspension.
He remembered taking a hike with his parents and siblings when he was young, in which a tree branch almost fell on them, and his mother leapt forwards and blocked it, telling her children that "We Snickets take care of our own."
When Snicket was young, he used to play a game called Beethoven with his brother, Jacques, while waiting for the bus. In the game, they would pretend to be hard of hearing, and purposely misunderstand each other. Kit, however, thought that the game was inane, and refused to play with them.
When he was eight, he and several other students were taken into the woods to spend several nights. He learned then that a wild animal, when cornered, may suddenly and desperately defend itself, which is why Snicket doesn't like to spend time outdoors.
When Snicket was eleven, he took an interest in Beatrice Baudelaire, and he noted that he enjoyed her oral report on the history of the sonnet. Snicket accidentally embarrassed her in front of her friends while trying to talk to her, by telling her that showing up early was a sign of a noble person. He sent her a letter asking to meet her at a cafe for rootbeer floats to make up for it. At some point, he also had "an incident with [a] bottle of ink and [a] root beer float" that gave his classmate, Olaf, a bad impression of him.
He and Beatrice did become friends, and he wrote her a note later during code class while she was in theatrics to give to R to deliver to her, in order to ask her to join him for a few hours of cave exploration, as Kit had informed him that there were bats inside the cave, and Beatrice was a baticeer.
At some point, he became a cheerleader for Beatrice's soccer team.
His final exam in Sneaking Class involved his instructor entering a small cabin, covered in glass figurines, in the middle of the leafy woods and sitting blindfolded in a folding chair, and to pass, the class would have to sneak up on him at midnight. Snicket broke into his office the night before and shared the location of the cabin with the rest of the class, and they arrived there before him. He received full marks and a three-month suspension. Ike Anwhistle gave him a paperweight of the Lachrymose Leech as a graduation gift.
During his apprenticeship, Snicket attempted to start some kind of semi-coup, where he promised his associates that they "could make [their] organization greater than ever, but only if [they] stopped listening to [their] instructors and found new ways to fix the world." This almost got him kicked out of VFD.
After he graduated, when he was almost thirteen, he was given a letter of introduction to give to his chaperone that described him as an excellent reader, a good cook, a mediocre musician, and an awful quarreler.
He and Kit planned to break into the Museum of Items in order to steal an important artifact that was only displayed in the museum once every eighty-four years. In order to do this, both siblings selected apprenticeships with chaperones in the city, where they would be able to measure the fountain being dug and get into the sewers, where they could break into the museum together. Snicket selected the chaperone S. Theodora Markson due to her location, though she was ranked fifty-second of fifty-two chaperones.
|“||Children never tell adults anything either. The children of this world and the adults of this world are in entirely separate boats and only drift near each other when we need a ride from someone or when someone needs us to wash our hands.||”|
— Lemony Snicket, Who Could That Be at This Hour?
Before Snicket can board the train to his apprenticeship, he is taken to the Hemlock Tearoom and Stationery Shop by Gifford and Ghede, pretending to be his parents, though their disguises don't fool Snicket. He seems to have suspected this would happen, as he placed a folding ladder into the bathroom for escape purposes.
S. Theodora Markson enters the tearoom and drops a note on his lap, telling him to climb from the bathroom window into an alley, where she will be waiting for five minutes. He manages to do this, and Theodora informs him that they're in a great hurry; when he questions her, however, she almost throws him out of the car and only relents when he apologizes and says he wants her as his chaperone. She shows him that she'd stolen his tea and that Gifford and Ghede had laced it with laudanum, an opiate that causes the victim to go into a state of delerium, or sleep, with intents to knock him out and kidnap him.
Snicket is alarmed when they do not stop at the train station to go to the city; instead, Theodora tells him that there has been a change of plans, and drives him to Stain'd-by-the-Sea. She explains the town's history, including the fact that the town is slowly dying due to ink shortages (their biggest business is in ink), and the residents have to wear specific masks whenever a bell rings on Offshore Island. She also informs him that his "penchant for asking too many questions and for general rudeness" has put him on probation, though he's not entirely sure what that entails.
They stop at the home of their client, the Sallis Mansion. A butler lets them in, and Snicket eats eleven cookies and reads five chapters of a book before their client arrives, introducing herself as Murphy Sallis. She claims that a priceless statue, shaped like the mythical Bombinating Beast, has been stolen from her by her family's enemies, the Mallahan. Though Snicket is skeptical, he does promise Ms. Sallis that they will be discreet about their client's identity and will return the statue to its rightful owners.
The two volunteers head to the Mallahan lighthouse, where Theodora decides on the spot to pretend that they're newlyweds on a honeymoon who just want to see the lighthouse; Snicket realizes very quickly that this is a very unlikely story and doesn't do much to play along. Once inside, he is left with Moxie Mallahan, and when he tells her that they're looking for a statue, she takes him upstairs and shows him their collection of Bombinating Beast merchandise, including the statue. Seeing as the statue is dusty and the Bombinating Beast was a mascot of the Mallahan's newspaper, The Stain'd Lighthouse, Snicket believes that the statue truly belongs to them.
Snicket tells Theodora where the statue is on their drive to the hotel, but she is still adamant that the Mallahans must be thieves. They arrive at The Lost Arms, where Prosper Lost sets them up in the Far East Suite; Snicket is disturbed to find that they will be sharing one small room. Theodora takes a nap, and Snicket wanders over to the library across the street, where he meets Dashiell Qwerty, the sub-librarian. Qwerty suggests he read up on Dame Sally Murphy, a famous actress, but instead, Snicket decides to read up on local legends. As he does, he finds out that the Bombinating Beast is indeed connected to the Mallahans, as Lady Mallahan supposedly slew it hundreds of years before. His reading is interrupted by the arrival of Stew Mitchum, who threatens him with a slingshot before Qwerty chases him away. Upon finding out that he can request books in the city, Snicket sends his sister, who is working at the library, a message, reading, "Sorry, But I Cannot Meet You at the Fountain."
When he leaves the library, he is interrogated by Harvey and Mimi Mitchum, who suspect him of breaking a spotlight. He points out that he saw a boy with a slingshot named Stew, but the officers do not believe him; Stew is their son, and they believe he can do no wrong. After they start arguing, Snicket leaves, and Theodora informs him that she needs him to enter the lighthouse, so that night they can climb from the hawser between the Mallahan Lighthouse and the Sallis Mansion to return the statue. Though he still has his doubts about the statue's owners, Snicket reluctantly agrees.
He takes a taxi, driven by Pip and Squeak Bellerophon, to the lighthouse, where he tells Moxie that they're planning to rob her. Moxie doesn't care, as she has never put much value in the statue, though she does show him a telegram she received six months before, offering to buy it. Snicket makes them dinner, and then they read in her family's study until night falls. Moxie hides to watch the burglary as Snicket lets in Theodora, and then he carries the statue as the two of them climb the hawser. However, when Snicket sees the police light in the Sallis window instead of the candle the butler was supposed to place there, he drops into a tree to avoid being caught.
He waits in the tree until a girl arrives with a ladder. She introduces herself as Ellington Feint and takes him to her current residence, Handkerchief Heights. There, she makes them coffee (though Snicket doesn' drink it) and explains that a villain named Hangfire has kidnapped her father, and she's been searching to attempt to find him. Snicket promises to help her find her father, just as the Officers Mitchum arrive to search the premise for the statue. Ellington hides it in a package, and when she and Snicket are driven back to town by the officers, they drop it into the mail chute.
Snicket is scolded by Theodora for his reckless behavior, but after he explains that he saw the police light and the statue will be with them by morning, Theodora calms and tells him to get into bed. The next morning, he gets his package from Prosper Lost and goes to the library, where it has sent him a message back- "Don T. Worry, I'll Measure It Myself." He sends her a message back- "Please, Be Very, Very Careful." He reads some more until Qwerty mentions that he's been checking the book jackets because one might be slipped onto the wrong one. Snicket leaves the library and opens his package, finding a bag of coffee instead of the Bombinating Beast.
Pip and Squeak give him a ride to Handkerchief Heights, where he finds Moxie, who claims to have received a call telling her to meet him at that place. He recalls that Hangfire, the villain who kidnapped Ellington's father, can imitate voices before the two of them hear screaming coming from the Sallis Mansion. They arrive and find Murphy Sallis tied to a chair in the basement, which is being flooded. They manage to break a window to get rid of the water and untie her, upon which Snicket realizes that the woman is really Sally Murphy, the actress. Sally insists that only Hangfire can help her, and when Snicket offers the help of his organization, Sally screams for them to leave. Moxie is interested in his organization, but Snicket does not volunteer any more information and instead returns to town.
Snicket realizes that Ellington must have hidden the statue in another package to send to herself, and remembers her telling him that she frequented Black Cat Coffee. He arrives there and finds the button to the attic, where several packages are kept. He manages to retrieve the Bombinating Beast and takes it with him to the library, where he hides the statue behind a book called An Analysis of Brown, Black and Beige and places a trilogy into the package as a decoy.
He returns to the Lost Arms, where Theodora is furious that he does not have the statue. When he tells her that she is ranked last of all the chaperones, she almost hits him, until Prosper Lost interrupts with a call for Snicket. On the phone, he hears Ellington's voice, claiming she's been captured by Hangfire and held at Blotted Boulevard. Snicket knows instantly that this is an imitation of Ellington by Hangfire, but leaves his decoy package with Prosper and has the Bellerophons take him to Blotted Boulevard to check.
Upon his return, he finds that Hangfire had been sent up to the Far East Suite. Snicket hurries there and finds Theodora bound and gagged to a chair, having been threatened by Hangfire for the statue. When she orders him to leave, he goes to Black Cat Coffee, where he finally finds Ellington again. She finally explains that she can trade the statue for her father's freedom, but Snicket is adamant that the statue should be returned to its rightful owners, and that Hangfire is not to be trusted. After he falls asleep there, Ellington says she agrees with him, and they fetch the statue from the library and hide it in her bag. Outside, the police and Theodora find them, and after Snicket explains that they are returning the statue to the Mallahans, Theodora takes him off probation and the Officers give them a ride. Snicket goes inside to deliver the statue to Moxie, only to find out too late that it had again been switched out for a bag of coffee, and Ellington has escaped with it.
He spends the next three days frequenting the library and Black Cat Coffee, and then Snicket meets with Hector in the lobby of the Lost Arms and explains the situation, including that the butler at the Sallis Mansion was also Hangfire, who had been keeping an eye on Sally Murphy. Hector delivers him a jacket with a map of the city's waterworks sewn in to give to his replacement in the heist. Snicket informs him that there will be no replacement, and unfortunately, Kit will be doing it alone.
|“||We are all told to ignore bullies. It's something they teach you, and they can teach you anything. It doesn't mean you learn it. It doesn't mean you believe it. One should never ignore bullies. One should stop them.||”|
— Lemony Snicket, When Did You See Her Last?
One morning, after Theodora fails to make breakfast, Snicket goes to the lobby and receives a call from Kit. They communicate in code, but Kit manages to tell him that they won't be able to talk through the library references anymore, and when she says that she cannot find a companion for the heist, Snicket advises her not to go. Theodora comes downstairs, and he tells Kit to give Jacques his regards.
Theodora takes him to their next case; they have been hired by the servants of the Knight family, Zada, and Zora, to find Cleo Knight, who vanished the day before. When they arrive at Ink Inc., Snicket notices that the Knight parents, Ignatius and Doretta, are very dazed and confused, and the family apothecary, Dr. Flammarion, is injecting them with something; he realizes quickly that they are being drugged with laudanum.
In the kitchen, as they're served cinnamon rolls, Snicket listens to the details of the case from the twins, including that Cleo did not want to move away, as her parents did, because she was trying to revive Ink Inc. with an invisible ink formula. Theodora insists on seeing Cleo's room, and they go up with Flammarion. Snicket finds a letter that smells lemony (pun partially intended) and tests it for invisible ink. However, he does not find anything.
Theodora blabbers on while they drive around town, but Snicket makes her stop when he spots Cleo's car, a fancy Dilemma, on the side of the road with a flat tire; the tire has a needle stuck into it. He and Theodora go into the nearest building, Partial Foods, where Polly Partial tells them that Cleo Knight came in the morning before to buy cereal, before getting into a taxi and saying she was going to join the circus. Theodora considers the case solved, but Snicket isn't sure.
He goes around the corner to Hungry's diner, where he encounters Hungry Hix and her nephew, Jake. Jake serves him food but seems on edge when he mentions Cleo. He says that the morning before- at the same time Partial supposedly encountered her- Cleo came in for tea before driving off in her Dilemma. Now convinced that something is not right with Polly's story, Snicket takes the Bellerophon taxi to the lighthouse.
Moxie is angry at him for leaving her bored in town, but he manages to apologize and asks for her help giving him a bowlcut, like Stew Mitchum. He explains the case to her, and she explains to him the history of the Knight family and Ink Inc., including the fact that one of the founders was Colonel Colophon, who was injured in an explosion at the unveiling of his statue and now resides at Colophon Clinic, where Dr. Flammarion used to work. She also mentions that Cleo's father was the one who drained the sea in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, effectively crippling the town's economy. They take the taxi back to town, and Moxie asks the Bellerophons if they'd ever driven Cleo Knight, to which they respond that they had not.
Snicket leaves Moxie outside of Partial Foods, where he goes in and steals two honeydew melons. He waits outside for the police, and antagonizes them and Stew until he is arrested; Moxie goes with them to the police station in order to report on the story. There, Harvey has Snicket, Stew and a file cabinet stand in a lineup, and Mimi soon returns with Polly. Polly identifies Stew as the culprit, which infuriates the Officers. Snicket uses this incident to prove that Polly Partial is not a reliable witness, as her eyesight is failing, before telling the officers to re-open the Cleo Knight case and interrogate Flammarion.
He and Moxie head to the library, where Snicket tries and fails to read up on chemistry, and Moxie researches Colonel Colophon and the war. When Snicket goes to Qwerty for help, he spots a woman- later identified as Nurse Dander- leaving the library with several books on sleeping draughts, chemical espionage and Colonel Colophon, after dropping off the trilogy that Snicket gave to Hangfire before. He follows her to an abandoned aquarium, where he sees several small tadpoles in tanks throughout the entire building.
He overhears Dander talking to who she assumes to be Cleo Knight, working on her invisible ink formula. However, Snicket figures out that this is not Cleo but Ellington in disguise, and after Dander leaves, he convinces Ellington to let him in. Ellington explains that she and Cleo made a plan for Ellington to pretend to be Cleo and throw investigators off the trail while Cleo hid and worked on her formula- Ellington was the one Polly Partial saw- but Ellington took the opportunity to try and arrange a meeting with Hangfire and the Inhumane Society. Snicket informs her that the real Cleo was also kidnapped by the Inhumane Society, and Ellington will have to flee. She makes him promise to take care of her papers and record player and hands him the Bombinating Beast, wrapped in a blanket. He helps her sneak out and then throws a fishbowl through the window to distract Dander while he runs.
He meets Ellington at Black Cat Coffee, but their conversation is interrupted by the Officers Mitchum and Theodora, who informs him that the Knights have left town. Ellington confesses to tricking Polly Partial to try and get him out of trouble, but all this does is get her arrested. As they leave to go to the police station, Snicket realizes that Stew is part of the Inhumane Society, as he references Nurse Dander. At the station, Snicket tells Ellington that she can easily escape the cell with a hairpin, and she convinces him to leave the statue with her, as Theodora would likely take it from him.
Upon exiting the police station, Snicket runs into Moxie, who is angry at him for leaving her in the library. She manages to convince Theodora to leave them alone before he explains everything to her, and she tells him that she found out that the explosion that injured Colophon was probably orchestrated by the Inhumane Society, who were angry that a war that killed so many was being celebrated, and that a tree that housed an endangered moth species was being ripped up to make room for a statue.
Snicket takes Moxie to Hungry's, where he informs Jake that he's figured out he and Cleo are close, due to the fact Jake refers to her by her first name, unlike everyone else, who just calls her "Miss Knight." Jake admits that they're sweethearts and that he knew of Cleo and Ellington's plan. Snicket then informs him that Cleo never left town and was kidnapped and that she is probably being held at Colophon Clinic. Snicket and Moxie take the Bellerophon Taxi to the clinic, while Jake fixes up the Dilemma to drive himself.
At the clinic, Snicket tells the Bellerophons to go into the hospital in ten minutes and cause a ruckus in order to be a distraction. He and Moxie enter and find Nurse Dander as a receptionist, and Snicket pretends to be delivering flowers to Colophon in order to sneak past her, though he has to leave Moxie behind. He investigates the clinic, finding several beds with chains attached, and tanks for tadpoles. He goes up to the tower, thinking Cleo may be there and starts whistling the song Ellington keeps playing on her phonograph when he hears a voice calling for her. He runs up to find Colophon, who again claims that Cleo ran away to join the circus. Snicket, however, realizes the man is Hangfire in disguise. Hangfire tries to throw him from the window- as Snicket realizes he did to Colophon- when Jake crashes through a lower wall with the Dilemma, and Snicket manages to escape.
He and Jake find each other and follow the sound of screaming, where they struggle to lift a hatch together. Once it's open, they descend into the cellar, where Cleo has just escaped and is confronting Flammarion. She destroys the equipment they forced her to use, and they help her take him upstairs just as the police arrive. They arrest him and Dander, and Snicket finds an injured Moxie. Cleo helps heal the cut she received from Dander, and Snicket leaves.
He reaches the Lost Arms, where he tells Theodora he'll write up the report of the mission and attach her name to it. Prosper arrives to tell him that there is someone waiting for him in the lobby. He goes down and finds Widdershins, who brings him news that Kit broke into the museum herself, and while she managed to steal and hide the item, she was arrested. Before Widdershins leaves, he identifies a suspicious material Snicket found in the Inhumane Society headquarters as Caviar.
- Jackie: It's nothing personal. I just have some trouble on my hands.
- Lemony Snicket: Trouble is like grease. If you have it on you, you'll probably get it on everyone nearby.
Inside Job/Black Paint
Snicket begins the morning arguing with Theodora, who wants him to tell her what it means to be an apprentice, but also does not want him to say the words "secret organization" out loud. During their argument, she burns the toast for breakfast. Prosper Lost then comes to fetch Snicket, as he has a visitor in the lobby who is both a minor and a miner. Snicket meets Marguerite Gracq, who needs his help solving a mystery.
On the way to her house, she explains that her family used to run the only gold mine in town, but since the gold ran out, her father has left town to find them somewhere to work, while she is in charge of making sure nothing happens to the gold they have, which is stored somewhere in his workroom. Soon after she was left under the care of Dagmar, her mothers' portraits of Finnish authors began to fall, but they fell too neatly and always when she was in the mines.
As Snicket enters the house, he spots black paint against the wall and investigates the nails Marguerite uses, which he discovers are the gold, painted black, and that Dagmar was stealing the gold by stealing the nails. He calls the police and explains this to Marguerite over a breakfast of fluffy eggs.
Pinched Creature/Dishonest Salesman
Snicket is having an uneventful time reading with Moxie when her neighbor, Oliver Sobol, arrives. Moxie tells him that he can come play parcheesi with her whenever he likes (as Snicket will not, for he believes the game is inane), but Oliver had come with a case; his Amaranthine Newt- which is yellow, unlike the name suggests- has gone missing, and he suspects that it was stolen. His only patient that day was Polly Partial, though he isn't sure why she would steal a newt.
The three children return to the Sobol Veterinary Office, where they find a doorknob salesman parked with a flat tire. When asked about the Amaranthine Newt, he says he knows nothing but that the newt may be hiding in the Zinnias. As the Zinnias are yellow and orange like the building's trim, and not purple, like anyone who heard the name "Amaranthine" would believe- Snicket figures out that this man is the thief, and finds the newt in the back of his van.
Ransom Note/Loud Dog
The Bellerophon brothers' mechanic requires help, so Snicket agrees to go with them. He meets Jackie, who is fixing up Cleo's Dilemma and is skeptical that he would be tough enough to assist. They tell him that their dog, Lysistrata, was kidnapped, and they received a ransom note that morning that told them to bring their drills to Blotted Boulevard at midnight in order to get their dog back. They speculate where the dog could be hidden, as it would have to be loud enough to block the sound of her barks, and then Snicket agrees to go with Jackie to Blotted Boulevard that night in order to catch the kidnapper. Jackie's grandfather, who works at the bowling alley and won't stop talking about being a race car driver, arrives and tells them to leave.
That night, Snicket sneaks out and meets Jackie, getting on their motorcycle to drive to Blotted Boulevard, before hiding behind rubble as Jackie waits. After two hours, Jackie gives up, but Snicket has figured out that their grandfather must be the kidnapper, as he would've been able to get Lysistrata to quietly leave with him, and he could have hidden her in the bowling alley; he had kidnapped the dog in order to get Jackie out of the garage so he could take the Dilemma for a joyride.
Walkie-Talkie/Through the Window
Snicket is having breakfast at Hungry's, where Stew is arguing with Jake in an attempt to get a fourth chocolate muffin. When Jake refuses, Stew leaves to use the bathroom, and another guest pays for his monthly steak frites and then leaves. As he does, Snicket and Jake find a walkie-talkie under the table, which is squawking with someone on the other end, asking them to find George. Thinking it might be the other customer, they follow after him while Snicket communicates with the mysterious person, who claims to be a captured spy. Snicket notices a sign on the walkie-talkie that reads OFF-SBTS-USE.
They catch up to the man, who it turns out is named Leroy and does not own the walkie-talkie. On the way back, Snicket pieces together that OFF-SBTS-USE means "OFFicial Stain'd-By-The-Sea USE", and that the walkie-talkies belong to the Officers Mitchum. They re-enter the diner and find Stew stealing a fourth chocolate muffin; he had stolen the radios from his parents for this purpose. Jake later makes a batch of pecan muffins, which he gives to Snicket for free.
Bad Gang/Homemade Furniture
Snicket receives the news that he is going to have an unchaperoned weekend, as Theodora wants to visit her sister, and she promises to bring him a teacup if he behaves. She leaves on a Thursday, and an excited Snicket spends the day in the library.
On Friday, Snicket takes a walk in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, only to find the Officers Mitchum arguing about a book outside of a vandalized store, Boards. They explain to him that the window was broken and a bestselling board stolen by the Big Bad Brick Gang, which the officers know because they found a note outside from the gang, claiming that nobody could stop them. The store owner, Bob Old, says that his son, Kevin, knew of the gang, and wanted them to get weapons to defend themselves, as Kevin was obsessed with pirate books and fencing, but Bob found that ridiculous. After the Mitchums start arguing again, Snicket leaves an goes to play a dice game with Moxie, to which he keeps losing.
On Saturday, Snicket has breakfast at Hungry's, but when Jake tells him about another vandalism, he leaves quickly and heads to Swords, which has been struck again by the Big Bad Brick Gang, who stole a sword on display. (Their note this time also mentions that the officers could call them the BBBG if they wanted.) The Officers, who have Stew with them, once again believe the note when it says they'll never catch them nor figure out what makes them choose a place to strike. Snicket speculates that they're hitting stores that have rhyming names, and asks the owner, Delphinium Smith, if there are any other rhyming stores on the block. The officers tell Snicket they don't need his help, and Stew gives him a hard poke.
On Sunday, Snicket has the Bellerophons drive him to the rhyming stores, but they find that the third vandalized store is Chrysanthemums. Snicket goes out and ignores the officers, talking to the store owner, Delphinium Smith. She calls for her daughter, Florence, to come to see if anything had been stolen, but Florence was distracted by her pirate book. Delphinium expresses her distaste for literature, saying that she won't allow Florence to have a bookshelf unless she builds it herself. At that, Snicket realizes that the BBBG is just Kevin and Florence trying to get a sword and wood for a shelf and breaking an extra window to throw the police off. He does not explain this to the officers, though he says he hopes the vandals explain their behavior and help clean up. Theodora returns and he tells her that he did nothing all weekend, and she gives him an ugly teacup. He leaves it somewhere he might carelessly step on it.
Silver Spoon/Twenty-Five Guests
Snicket is trying to get through a book he dislikes as the library closes, and Qwerty asks him if he could help some library patrons. Snicket agrees, and they head to a camp of drifters who are temporarily residing in Stain'd-by-the-Sea; Qwerty has been reading to them. Snicket meets with Randall and his one-eared dog, Ashberry. Randall explains that one of his only possessions was an engraved spoon, but he suspects Smogface Wiley, who had tried to buy it off of him while he was alone washing windows, of stealing it, as he night before, they returned to camp to find Ashberry barking and the spoon gone.
The next day, Snicket goes to Smogface Wiley, posing as a visitor from the city. Smogface brags to him, and Snicket deduces that he stole the spoon in order to have a collection of spoons engraved with every letter of the alphabet, and he is able to prove that he stole it because Smogface mentions Ashberry, who was not with Randall when he was washing windows. Smogface returns the spoon and then has Snicket thrown out on his ear.
Violent Butcher/Small Sound
Snicket goes to Black Cat Coffee in hopes of seeing Ellington, only to meet Mack outside. Mack, a freelance butcher, and abusive father, is waiting outside for his son, Drumstick, who fled with intent to leave town and live with his mother and hid inside the cafe. Mack threatens Snicket into going in with him to corner Drumstick, and as Mack searches the piano, Snicket spots an overturned trashcan.
Mack calls for Drumstick and checks the back door, which is locked, while Snicket tries to distract him. Mack goes into the attic, and Snicket hears the sound of breathing from inside the trashcan. He presses the button to close the stairs to the attic, temporarily trapping back, before helping Drumstick out and giving him a head start to run to the train station.
Twelve or Thirteen/Scratched Name
Moxie brings Snicket an article she found in the records of The Stain'd Lighthouse that she finds interesting. At first, Snicket can't find anything unusual about it; it's just about a low turnout for an annual sled race, which had twelve participants. But then Moxie points out that in the attached photo, there are thirteen sledders. She also notes that the winner of the race, Chase B. Willow, was later arrested for stealing a portrait on display at the rase; while he claimed innocence, the painting was found in his attic. He'd been in jail for years, enough that his wife divorced him and eloped with a lawnmower technician.
Snicket heads to the lighthouse, where he looks through the archives and finds other pictures and articles from the race. There, he realizes that Willow's wife has her own, unnumbered sled in one photo instead of his and that she stole the portrait and framed her husband. Moxie and Snicket contact the authorities in the city, who inform them that Willow had already escaped prison with a skeleton key.
Midnight Demon/Panicked Feet
Snicket receives a handwritten note on frilly stationery telling him to come to Cozy's, a rocking chair store, as the owner, Thomasina Cozy, was very worried. He arrives and she tells him that business has been slow, as nobody has an interest in rocking chairs, to which Tatiana and Treacle, her twin children, suggest multiple other things they could sell. She doesn't listen and explains to Snicket that she's arranged for her daughter to marry Baron von Pendle, the nephew of the inventor of the swing set, but her plans are being ruined by a demon. When Snicket expresses skepticism, she explains that the Baron has been seeing Tatiana walking along the pier at midnight, and he doesn't want to marry an insomniac, as he's an insomniac himself, but Thomasina is sure that Tatiana is in her bed every night. Snicket agrees to help, saying that he'll need to take Tatiana out for a walk that night.
When he returns, he leaves with Tatiana, as Thomasina heads to bed and Treacle reads in a rocking chair beside the family dog. During the walk, Snicket accuses Tatiana of sneaking out at night in order to ruin the engagement, and while she says she doesn't want to marry the Baron, she insists that she's been in bed every night. When they reach the pier, they spot a figure that looks exactly like Tatiana walking along the pier, which scares them both, enough that Tatiana falls over. After Snicket overcomes his shock, he reminds her that she has a near-identical twin, and they return home to find Treacle still reading. Snicket then calls for their dog, Tabitha, and when she gets up, they find the wig Treacle used to imitate his sister's hair underneath her basket. After some tea, the twins agree to get Tatiana out of her marriage with conversation, rather than by pretending to be demons.
Three Suspects/Very Obvious
While leaving the library, Snicket glares at the nearby police station, accidentally ending up glaring at an exiting Harvey Mitchum. After some argument, Snicket agrees to help the Mitchums on a case. Inside, Mimi explains that Polly Partial's shipment of blueberry pies was stolen, and she had seen someone the night before in a red coat loading pies into a van marked with french horns. They've arrested three suspects who work at the french horn factory- the uniform of which requires a red coat- but the officers are too tired to figure out which one is guilty.
Snicket looks over the suspects, one of whom is wearing a red coat and has an alibi of taking a shipment of french horns to the Devotee Symphony the night before, the second of whom had a work apron on and was at the factory all day, and the third of whom has no alibi and is wearing a shirt stained with blueberries. Snicket quickly concludes that the third brother is the thief and that the Mitchums should have gotten a better night's sleep.
Vanished Message/Message Received
Snicket is eating a breakfast of cereal, but since Theodora had not bought bowls, he has to eat by dipping each flake into a milk carton. As they argue over a confusing saying, a letter arrives for Snicket. He takes it and hides its contents from Theodora by reading it in the bathroom. The letter is from a woman named Lois Dressing, who claims that she was recently in town studying the Yamgraz and that she left an important message in the Swinster Pharmacy, and he needs to send it without reading it.
He goes to the pharmacy, but the postcard Lois told him to look for is not there. He goes to the library to look up the Yamgraz, and Qwerty explains that they were the indigenous people of that area, who were driven out when the town was settled. Snicket then finds the book Lois had been reading in the library, inside which is the postcard. The postcard, which Snicket reads against instructions, says that this was a test and that if the postcard is sent, to mark the date and information in the Snicket File.
Troublesome Ghost/Train Wreck
Snicke goes to Hungry's for breakfast, where Jake asks if he wants to hear a ghost story. He introduces him to Hans Mann, a former set designer at the Stain'd Playhouse, which closed down, causing almost all of the actors and crew to leave; the only ones remaining are Old Lady Mann, Hans's mother, and Billy Becker, who lives in the fishing district and tries to catch rats in pillowcases.
Hans explains that his mother has been experiencing strange occurrences in her house and seeing her husband's ghost, but after some description, Snicket quickly figures out that Billy Becker is faking the haunting to scare her out of the house. Upon confrontation, Billy confesses, and Old Lady Man allows him to stay with her.
Figure in Fog/Shouted Word
Snicket has trouble finding a book to read at the library, so he decides to go for a walk. He asks Qwerty why there's fog outside, as the town no longer has water. He talks about the many suspicious incidents he's encountered in his own, and Qwerty points out that to the people of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, Snicket is the suspicious incident.
He leaves the library and spots a figure in the fog, and follows them throughout town, thinking it may be Ellington but unsure who it truly is. He thinks over all the incidents that have happened recently, and hears a word shouted through the fog, before following the figure some more.
|“||Get scared later, I told myself, just as I'd advised my associates. Get scared later, and if you're scared now remember what Kit always said. If you're not scared, she told me, it's not bravery. And you want to be brave, don't you, Snicket? Of course you do. Of course I did, but I still felt sick. It was a sickness in my stomach and in my mouth and even in my heart. The symptoms were nervousness and dread. I don't know what the illness was called. I've had it since I was a child.||”|
— Lemony Snicket, Shouldn't You Be in School?
The past few weeks, Snicket started spending his afternoons watching over the only school left in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, to make sure none of the children are abducted by Hangfire. In the library one day, he retrieves a newspaper clipping after ten days that he hides under Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea so he can read it privately; it is about Kit, being put on trial in the city. Qwerty arrives and recommends an Italian Dictionary, but Snicket decides against it; Qwerty then tells him that he installed a sprinkler system in the northeast corner of the library, in case of fire.
Moxie arrives, having finally discovered something while searching the newspaper archives. She found an article about when the town was planning to drain the sea; Porter Roeman, who ran the Roe House at 350 Wayward Way- a fish business- said that the draining would adversely affect local marine life. Moxie wonders if the large, empty Roe House might be Hangfire's next headquarters. Moxie then asks for the newspaper article he's hiding beneath the book. Theodora then arrives, shouting "fire" in order to get Snicket's attention. She tells Snicket to leave, giving Moxie the opportunity to take the newspaper clipping Theodora then tells him that their next client is at 350 Wayward Way.
Snicket and Theodora arrive at a building marked for the Department of Education; inside, they wait for a long time while a boy types. Snicket finally goes to talk to him, finding out his name is Kellar Haines; he is acting odd, and almost dares Snicket to look at what he's typing. Finally, Sharon Haines comes in, hitting it off quickly with Theodora. She explains that a local sheep barn was burnt down, and she is now worried about the safety of the students. She asks them to talk to the one witness, Harold Limetta, who lives at 431 Ballpoint Drive. On the way out, Snicket tells Kellar that he can find him at Hungry's Diner, and Kellar tells Snicket to look up Harold Limettta.
Upon arriving at Harold's home, they find it burnt to the ground. The Officers Mitchum explains that Harold Limetta only just arrived in town, and all anyone knows about him is that he studies moths and got wool to feed them from the sheep barn. Snicket tells them to give Stew his regards and leaves to go to Hungry's, while Theodora leaves to go out with Sharon.
At Hungry's, Snicket meets up with Jake and Moxie, as well as Kellar, who speaks cryptically and talks about almost nothing but how there are no Italian limes in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, before leaving. Soon after, Sharon and Theodora arrive and announce that they've decided the arsonist is Dashiell Qwerty, who hates moths, and they've sent the police to arrest him. Once they leave, Snicket quickly explains the case to Moxie and Jake and asks Moxie to research the Department of Education. He then heads to Black Cat Coffee, where he finds Qwerty. Before he is arrested, Qwerty asks Snicket to deliver Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea to Ellington Feint.
As Snicket leaves, he sees smoke on the horizon, and runs to find Stain'd Secondary in flames. The Official Fire Department arrives to put out the blaze, while Snicket is driven back to the hotel by Prosper Lost, who admits he was worried about his daughter, Ornette, who attended the school, but all the children had already left. Snicket tentatively asks if there is a Volunteer Fire Department in town, but Prosper does not pick up on the code.
Snicket enters the Far East Suite, where Theodora and Sharon are having a party to celebrate "solving the case." Snicket points out that schoolchildren are still in danger, but Sharon claims that they're all safe, as they've just been transferred to Wade Academy. Theodora, believing incorrectly that Sharon is a VFD Supervisor, agrees with her, and the two of them leave Lemony alone in the suite, telling him to clean up. He starts to clean the area and talks to an imaginary Kit in his head until he finds Ellington's phonograph. He lifts it up and realizes that it is labeled a Hangfire Phonograph, which clues him into the identity of Hangfire.
The next day, he arrives at Hungry's to find Jake, Cleo, Moxie, Hungry and the firefighters, the Talkie Brothers. Everyone is very cryptic about what happened, so Snicket leaves with his associates, and Cleo drives them to the Department of Education. As they drive, Cleo explains that the fire was not put out correctly, as the water in the hydrants had been replaced with a chemical that made the blaze worse. They arrive at Wayward Way, and Snicket explains that he wants to see if Kellar has information for them. Upon mentioning his obsession with Italian, Snicket finds out from Cleo that the Italian word for lime is Limetta; as Kellar told them there are no Italian Lime Trees in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, the children realize that Kellar was telling them that Limetta didn't exist.
They enter the house, and Moxie reveals to Snicket that she found out Stain'd-by-the-Sea does not have a Department of Education. They find a false wall, blocking an empty room instead of an office, and Kellar's papers, which only read "Look Busy." They realize that the entire case was a sham in order to frame Qwerty for arson, just as a van marked Department of Truancy arrives. Hangfire and Sharon Haines step out and kidnap Moxie, Jake, Cleo and Kellar- the latter of whom was hiding in a closet- after smashing Moxie's typewriter. Snicket is not taken.
He returns to The Lost Arms to find Theodora cleaning up from the party, and he finds out that Sharon and Hangfire threatened her into leaving town, and she agreed under the condition that her apprentice be left alone. Snicket refuses to abandon his friends, but he's shocked when Theodora tells him if they leave they can free Kit, who he didn't know she knew about. He still leaves her to rescue his associates, taking Ellington's phonograph with him.
Snicket finds Pip and Squeak at Hungry's, begging for food; they have been hiding from the Department of Truancy for three days to avoid being kidnapped to Wade Academy. Snicket makes them food and then asks for a ride to Wade Academy, where he plans to break in. Once he arrives, he tries to sneak into the grounds, only to be knocked unconscious by Stew Mitchum.
When he awakens, he finds that he was dragged inside to safety by Ellington, who also broke into the school to find Hangfire, under disguise as Filene N. Gottlin. While she claims the Bombinating Beast statue was stolen from her, Snicket doesn't believe her. She also tells him that the students of the academy are being drugged with laudanum, the effects of which are fought by her coffee. After she cries to him about wanting to find her father, and he comforts her, they are interrupted by Sharon Haines, who comes to tell Ellington to keep to her part of the plan. While Snicket hides under the bed, he spots the green bag she usually carries the statue in. Ellington tells him to remove his shoes and socks so they can sneak through the halls, and after some protests, he does, revealing to her his VFD tattoo. She recognizes it as a secret organization, but the only way Snicket can think of to differentiate between VFD and the Inhumane Society is that VFD reads more.
They sneak through the halls and reach the library, where they meet with Jake, Cleo, Kellar, Moxie and Ornette Lost; Cleo found a bark outside that also fights the effects of the laudanum. They discuss their plan, and Snicket reveals to them his association with VFD and recruits them as ad hoc members. Kellar tells them that they're to go on a field trip the next day, so Snicket tells them to go and then sneak off to Hungry's as soon as Ellington, who will be left behind, rings the bell, as Sharon ordered her to. Before they leave, Kellar gives Snicket a compass, which he realizes is a clue that Hangfire plans to burn the library; the sprinklers are in the northeast corner.
Before returning to her room, Ellington takes Snicket to a fire pond, where they see some kind of creature swimming inside. Snicket believes it may be a decoy meant to scare people, and once they arrive at her room, he accuses her of still having the statue. She opens her bag and shows him it's empty, and then he lets her sleep while he watches over her. When she awakes, he makes coffee, and asks her to take a hayride with him after she rings the bell.
They don their masks and exit into the hall, where Snicket tells his associates they will have to work on a fragmentary plot; not all of them can know everything, in case they're captured or overheard. He tells them to throw a wagon over the wall while Ornette distracts Stew, who is guarding the students, and then asks them to throw over the books from the library, which are all blank. After the bus leaves, he takes the Bellerophon taxi into town, falling asleep on the way. When he awakes, he asks the Bellerophons to return to Wade Academy and take the blank books and switch them out with the books in the library, and then attach the wagon to their car for the hayride.
He spies on the students, who are ordered to steal honeydew melons from Partial Foods, and tells Ornette to sneak a message to her uncles, the firefighters, to ignore any fires that night. Once she leaves, he is beaten by Stew Mitchum; he and Hangfire tell Snicket they plan to burn Dicey's Department Store.
He meets up with his associates at Hungry's, and after they tend to his wounds, he tells them to go to Dicey's Department Store. He returns to the Lost Arms, ignoring Theodora's scolding as he cleans up. He then takes the taxi to Wade Academy, where he meets with Ellington. As they drive, he takes her bag again and opens up a secret compartment, finding it also empty. He reveals that he knows Ellington is still working for Hangfire and was supposed to distract him, and they go to the library. There, Stew attacks Snicket and sets fire to Caviar: Salty Jewel of the Tasty Sea, but Ellington uses Kellar's compass to find the sprinkler system. This soaks all the books, and Ellington is arrested for destroying the library. Snicket pretends to be sad, while knowing that the books are safe.
Sometime later, he has dinner with his associates and Josephine in Handkerchief Heights to discuss their future plans to remain separate and work on Fragmentary Plots. Moxie gives them all business cards to communicate with, and he walks Josephine out to her helicopter, where she tells him that Kit is now under the custody of Gifford and Ghede. He watches Josephine fly away in her helicopter, realizing that nobody is going to help him.
|“||I walked for some time among the train tracks, with the dark statue of the Bombinating Beast tucked into my coat. Long ago, I had made a promise to return the statue to its rightful owner. The sky was getting lighter and I was whistling the tune Ellington had played me, first on a Hangfire phonograph and then on a music box her father had given her. She had not told me the name of the tune. It was a mystery, like what the S stood for in Theodora's name. I kept walking, with nothing but Solitude for company. 'Solitude' is a fancy name for being all by yourself. It's not a bad name, I thought.||”|
— Lemony Snicket, Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
Snicket pretends to be asleep while S. Theodora Markson sneaks out of the Far East Suite, and then follows her downstairs, where he encounters Prosper Lost. Prosper gives him a message from Ornette- her business card, folded into the shape of a train. He learns about Prosper's wife, and then Prosper tells Snicket that Theodora asked him to take care of him should she not return, and Snicket tells Prosper that if he doesn't return, to bring the book he was reading to Pip and Squeak. He leaves, and never sees Prosper Lost again.
He follows Theodora to Dicey's Department Store, where she steals a train conductor's uniform. He then goes to Stain'd Station, where he fails to get a ticket from Polly Partial, seeing as he has no money. He encounters Sharon Haines at the station, who tells him to leave, as well as Sally Murphy and her suspicious porter. He watches the train leave, and then catches a taxi from Pip and Squeak, to go to Partial Foods. There, he waits for the train, and then jumps aboard, grabbing the edge of the railings.
After barely holding on, Snicket is dragged inside by Moxie. Two train conductors come into the room to check for tickets, but Snicket recognizes them as Gifford and Ghede and threatens to tell Moxie everything about them if they don't leave. After they go, Moxie tells Snicket that she had Ornette fold her a false Bombinating Beast statue, which she is using to lure Hangfire onto the train; once he is aboard, she will turn him over to the authorities. Snicket doubts that this plan will go well.
They hear a commotion in the next car over, one of the prison cars. Snicket uses a glass to listen to an argument between Qwerty and Theodora, who is trying to break him out. However, Qwerty does not want to leave, as he can deliver important information about Hangfire to the city. Snicket then hears a crash and a scream and runs to the next compartment when the train makes an unexpected stop. There, he finds Qwerty dead, and Theodora standing over him.
The Officers Mitchum arrest Theodora for the crime, though Snicket is adamant that she is innocent. He goes to look for witnesses, finding Kellar Haines in one car, who he sends to Moxie, and Sally Murphy and her porter in another; upon hearing the porter use the phrase "hurryupping," he confirms to himself that the porter is Lizzie Haines, Kellar's kidnapped sister. In the next compartment, he finds three librarians- Walleye, Pocket and Eratosthenes. Stew enters and makes the librarians claim to be witnesses to Theodora murdering Qwerty. Outside the prison car, Snicket finds another folded piece of paper, this one in the form of a coffee cup.
Snicket returns to Moxie's compartment, and finds out that Kellar and Moxie both have false Bombinating Beasts; they had the same idea, meaning that Hangfire knows they're lying. Jake and Cleo, who also snuck aboard the train, enter the compartment. Snicket tells them about Qwerty's murder, which causes him to cry. After telling his associates to gather their notes and evidence, he goes to the cafe compartment.
He meets with Ellington, who had been released from the prison car by the Mitchums. He offers to help her join VFD if she helps him finally defeat Hangfire, but she is then hit with a poison dart and drops to the ground, shattering her music box. Snicket turns to see that Hangfire has entered the compartment, and then he tells Snicket firstly how he makes poison darts, and then that he is following the course of nature. He opens Ellington's bag and finds no statue, and Snicket claims that he has it and will trade it for Theodora's release. Hangfire agrees and tells him that he will send someone to fetch him.
After Hangfire leaves, Snicket tells Ellington to get up; she'd faked her death while Hangfire was in the room. She realizes that her father is likely dead and agrees to join Snicket. He then has her hang outside the train so that Hangfire cannot find her, promising her that they'll travel together once she joins VFD, mentioning Winnipeg as one of the locations. Her terror at being held outside the train confirms to him that she was not the murderer, as he realized that the killer would have to be outside of the train due to how the glass shattered.
He returns to his associates, who had been joined by Ornette while he was gone. He explains to them that the murderer was Stew Mitchum, working under Hangfire's orders. At that, Stew enters the compartment to take Snicket to Hangfire, while the associates gather witnesses and authorities, and Snicket sends Kellar to go find his sister.
In the compartment with a masked figure that is supposedly Hangfire, Snicket mentions that Lizzie is on the train, to discover that the figure is Sharon, who drops the pretense upon mention of her daughter. He runs to the compartment he left Ellington, finding her with Hangfire. He begs her not to give him the statue as the other passengers filter in, but she hands it over to exchange for her father.
Before Hangfire can use the statue, Snicket knocks him over and takes it from him; his mask falls off, revealing him to have been Armstrong Feint the whole time. Snicket blows into the statue, which summons the Bombinating Beast and causes it to attack the train. Snicket pushes Armstrong into its mouth, killing him.
The train crashes, and when Snicket exits, none of his associates will look at him. He explains what has happened ot the other passengers and tells the librarians and Pip and Squeak that he will send them accounts of his time in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. He then finds out that the Mitchums are arresting Ellington in order to protect Stew; however, Ellington rejects his help, furious and grief-stricken at him for killing her father in front of her. He turns to Gifford and Ghede, and they tell him that they had a plan which required him remaining in the city, and he ruined it by escaping them.
Snicket follows the Mitchums to the prison cells as they release Theodora and put away Ellington, and he sees, to his shock, that Kit is also on the train. They pretend not to recognize each other, but Snicket is comforted at the fact Ellington has a skeleton key that Kit can use to break them out.
Outside, he refuses to take orders from the other Volunteers, ending his apprenticeship. When S. Theodora Markson tells him to be sensible and proper, he tells her that he isn't old enough. He walks away, and his associates give him one final wave as he heads off. He walks into the Clusterous Forest, whistling the tune Ellington played for him and carrying the statue of the Bombinating Beast in his pocket.
You Choose the Mystery
As a promotion for ATWQ, Snicket created an online series on YouTube called You Choose the Mystery, where you can follow a short mystery on Lemony's life depicting how he fails to send a message to a colleague, and, in turn, his colleague fails to send a message to him. In By The Other End (The End is the other option, however, this makes a better connection to ASOUE) Snicket is falsely accused of a crime and arrested.
- Rona: Some people will think you're a hero, and some people will think you're a villain.
- Lemony Snicket: You could say that about anyone.
A number of months after leaving Stain'd-by-the-Sea, Snicket is still living on the run and on his own. He settles in a town for a while, staying in an old and dirty room down by the docks, and spending most of his time in the library, where a Helpful Librarian could recommend books to him. In order to cope, he began thinking of himself as a hero, such as those in fairytales.
After failing to get jobs from a Shopkeeper and a Cook, the latter of which cost Snicket his coat, he sits alone in a park. A woman approaches him and asks him to watch her baby while she fetches napkins to clean a tea stain. Though Snicket is hesitant, she quickly leaves.
Snicket imagines a conversation with the infant for a while, until he realizes the woman has been gone for too long. He enters the teashop to attempt to find her, but the Teaman proves unhelpful. Not knowing what else to do, Snicket takes the baby to the library and reads them a book to calm them down. He reads a book the librarian had recommended, a book of legends, and narrates the story of Rona. However, a passing man shouts at him and calls the police, who arrive and arrest him and take away the baby, who had started to cry.
After being left in the interrogation room for a long time, the Police Inspector arrives and explains that due to circumstantial evidence, they believe Snicket kidnapped the baby, the Emperor of Cramiton. After she leaves, Snicket imagines a conversation with Rona about morality before trying to sleep on the table. He is later awakened by the Inspector returning the infant to him, saying that as the baby is female, the Emperor must be somewhere else.
She leaves the infant with Snicket while she leaves to find the mother, but Snicket has realized that when the woman left, he heard crying from her baby carriage, meaning she had the real Emperor with her, and left the other baby with Snicket to throw the police off her trail. Not wanting the baby to be returned to a kidnapper, Snicket leaves the station with the infant and imagines talking to them and Rona. He reaches the library at sunrise, where he gives the baby to the Helpful Librarian to raise. The afternoon that the real emperor is found, Snicket moves out of the city.
|“||A letter may be coded, and a word may be coded. A theatrical performance may be coded, and a sonnet may be coded, and there are times when it seems the entire world is in code. Some believe that the world can be decoded by performing research in a library. Others believe the world can be decoded by reading a newspaper. But in my case, the only thing that made sense of the world was you, and without you the world will seem as garbled and tragic as a malfunctioning typewrite9.||”|
— Lemony Snicket, The Beatrice Letters, Letter LS to BB #5, Question Ten.
At some point, Snicket returned to VFD and got a job at the Daily Punctilio as an assistant obituary spell-checker. There, he learned about the death of his associate R's mother, which made her the Duchess of Winnipeg. This somehow shifted Jacques to the Financial Times section of the paper, and put Geraldine Julienne as the new fashion editor, and presumably put Snicket in the position of Dramatic Critic. He also was receiving secret communication from Beatrice during her performances; when she dropped her hatpins off the stage during her bow, it signaled that it was safe for them to meet for root beer floats.
About two weeks later, Snicket commends Beatrice on her performance as the Baticeer in My Silence Knot, and reminding her that she has nearly all the information they need. He had been meeting with their associates during this time, but thoughts of Beatrice distracted him. When they later met for root beer floats, he presumably proposed marriage to her.
Snicket reviewed a performance of a V.F.D play, The World is Quiet Here, which starred Beatrice. A week later, the performance was taken over by Olaf, who turned it into One Last Warning to Those Who Try to Stand in My Way. Snicket gave it a poor review, as well as announcing his engagement to Beatrice in the same column. Though Snicket was fired for this review, Olaf was infuriated and swore revenge on him. Due to this, Snicket recieved a coded message from his wedding venue at the Vineyard of Fragrant Drapes, where he and Beatrice planned to marry, which warned him not to come due to threats by the Count. He also received a letter from Jacques, who enclosed documents and required materials for disguise training, warning him that he would have to go on the run, and to not communicate with Beatrice or any of their other associates.
Snicket was given instructions on how to flee at the Anxious Clown, where he was told to go the Prospero, with a ticket that signaled the boat would have to leave early to smuggle him out of the country.
Olaf framed Snicket for the arsons that he had committed, causing him to have to go on the lam. Beatrice sent him a two-hundred-page book explaining why she was breaking off their engagement. She returned to him his ring, and also asked him thirteen (unknown) questions. In his reply, Snicket asked in code if she was sure she could trust her co-star.
When Snicket heard that Beatrice and Bertrand had returned from the island and that Beatrice was pregnant, he sent them a telegram firstly congratulating her, and secondly to warn her of something dangerous.
Life on the Lam
In 13 Shocking Secrets You'll Wish You Never Knew About Lemony Snicket, it is mentioned Snicket helped Beatrice commit an unspecified serious crime before her death, which fans theorize to be either the murder of Count Olaf's mother and father or the theft of the Sugar Bowl, both of which he is known to have assisted with. At some point, Snicket was captured while disguised as a bullfighter. He attended the Duchess of Winnipeg's masquerade ball in a bullfighter costume in an attempt to warn Beatrice about a secret involving Count Olaf, while his enemies closed in from all sides.
According to The Daily Punctilio, Snicket is a criminal. He is blamed for starting several fires (possibly with an acquaintance), one possibly being the Quagmire fire. However, The Daily Punctilio has been wrong about many things and this is one of them. Unfortunately, the general public seems to have believed the lies, at least up until a certain point.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
|“||It makes me sad to think that my whole life, from the cradle to the grave, is full of errors, but at least that will not happen to the Baudelaires.||”|
— Lemony Snicket, Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
Snicket attempted to contact Gustav Sebald before learning of his death; he had received several pages from his script of Zombies in the Snow, which he was to return to him. He later sent the pages to his associates at Valorous Farms Dairy. Brett Helquist tried to meet him there, but the Dairy ended up being burned.
Sometime after Dr. Montgomery's collection was scattered, Snicket had to turn down an invitation to the Duchess's Masked Ball; however, in code, he signaled that he would indeed come.
One of the anagrams in Heimlich Hospital is "Monty Kensicle", an anagram of Lemony Snicket, meaning he may have been at the hospital when the Baudelaires were there.
In the book The Penultimate Peril, a mysterious taxi driver offers the Baudelaires to come with him after Dewey Denouement is killed, but they don't go because they don't know him. Lemony says in a narration:
- "I do know who the man was, and I do know where he went afterward, and I do know the name of the woman who was hiding in the trunk, and the type of musical instrument that was laid carefully in the back seat, and the ingredients of the sandwich tucked into the glove compartment, and even the small item that sat on the passenger seat, still damp from its hiding place."
His knowledge of this man suggests that he is quite possibly the taxi driver, which is true in the Netflix canon.
There is a great chance that the figure rowing in The End is Lemony Snicket.
At some point, while researching the Baudelaires, Snicket faked his death again, and attended his own funeral.
|“||Either I am a very good detective, or you are very lousy at hiding things-- or you want me to come to where you are.||”|
Snicket managed to get a job as a detective, though he scarcely talked to anyone, and never about his past. His office was located on the thirteenth floor of one of the nine dreariest buildings of the city, where he kept his letters and a conspiracy map.
For some time, he lived in the hills as a brae-man, waiting for someone. He eventually left, telling the nearby shepherds that he was in the mood for a rootbeer float.
About ten years after The End, he received (or presumably received) several letters from Beatrice Baudelaire II, who found him her only hope of contacting the Baudelaires. He tried desperately to avoid her, but finally, she sent him a note with a rootbeer float, asking to talk to him, but telling him to tear up the note if he wanted her to go away. As the note is in the file in one piece, it is likely they communicated.
He then sent a final letter to his Kind Editor, along with a copy of "My Silence Knot."
Netflix Series Divergent Canon
Differing from his book illustrations and descriptions, in the Netflix series, Snicket's face is shown constantly, as he now takes a "Rod Serling" approach and narrates the story onscreen.
In his youth, he attended Prufrock Preparatory School with Count Olaf, where they were both in Drama Club, and were recruited into VFD.
After graduation, he met with his girlfriend, Beatrice, at the opera La Forza del Destino, as well as Kit, Olaf, and Esmé. When Esmé refused to give Beatrice the sugar bowl, Lemony encouraged her to steal it, which they did. Enraged, Esmé followed them with a poison dart, which both Beatrice and Lemony were also equipped with. Beatrice accidentally shot and killed Olaf's father, which Lemony took the blame for, placing him on the run.
Soon after, Lemony found Beatrice in an alley. Beatrice expressed guilt, but Lemony comforted her by telling her he would take the blame fo the death of Olaf's father. Before leaving Beatrice, Lemony told her that he would always love her, and he gave her a goodbye kiss.
At some point in time, Lemony attended a party at the V.F.D. headquarters. He received a note from another volunteer (possibly his sister Kit) saying "Olaf knows", likely referring to Olaf discovering Beatrice was his father's true killer. Lemony immediately attempted to warn Beatrice and saw Olaf about to kill her by shoving her off a cliff, although Beatrice was saved because the wings of her dragonfly costume were functional.
During the events of The Penultimate Peril, he came out of hiding briefly when he came to the Hotel Denouement to greet his sister, Kit, and hopefully see Olaf brought to justice. Kit informed him of the Baudelaires' identities before leaving to answer a distress call from the Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home. Snicket drove back to the hotel, where he offered to take the Baudelaires with him to live on the run. They decided instead to stay; when he later returned, the hotel was on fire, and the Baudelaires and Olaf were gone. Justice Strauss gave him a photo of the Baudelaires, which he used to start his research into their lives. However, he could not find out what happened to them after The Penultimate Peril: Part Two.
About ten years later, after the disintigration of VFD, Snicket receives a note from his niece, Beatrice Baudelaire II. He meets her at Old Ed's Soda Shop for rootbeer floats, where she begins to tell him a story that happened after his research, as well as give him clues regarding the mysterious fates of Violet, Klaus and Sunny.
|“||Mr. Snicket became a fugitive from justice and was rarely seen in public, and then usually from the back.||”|
Snicket's physical appearance is difficult to describe, as he photographs poorly; almost every picture of him has him blurred, and any illustrations typically have his face obscured.
|“||In photographs, and in each public place,
Snicket rarely shows his face.
According to The Daily Punctilio 's obituary, he is tall with brown eyes, though Snicket claims that most of their report is false. He also is claimed to have black hair, which seems to be accurate to the coloring of the illustrations of him in All the Wrong Questions.
As a child of almost thirteen in All the Wrong Questions, Snicket is illustrated in a dress jacket and pants, striped tie, boots, and notably a newsboy cap, though he is also stated to have outfits provided for him by S. Theodora Markson as well as purchased from Dicey's Department Store. During his first few weeks in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, he has wild and long hair, though he gains a bowlcut while investigating the Cleo Knight case. As he is not described with a bowlcut following this, his hair likely grew out again inbetween then and the burning of Stain'd Secondary School. He is noted multiple times to be slightly shorter than Ellington Feint, though he seems to be taller than Lizzie Haines.
Unlike all other portrayals, the Netflix adaptation chooses to have Snicket portrayed more like Rod Serling in The Twilight Zone, and thus his physical appearance can be seen. He has black hair, blue-gray eyes, light skin, and and a very tall height. He also tends to dress in professional suits. As actor Patrick Warburton portrayed him at the ages of ~52-54, it can be assumed that he is projected to be around that age while narrating the series, which would put him at ~42-44 during the events of The Penultimate Peril.
To fill time at the end of the first audiobook, read by Tim Curry, there is an interview which is supposed to be with "Mr. Snicket" but he is apparently not home, and the interview proceeds with "Mr. Handler," who confuses himself with his "employer" throughout the interview. To avoid answering any tough questions, Handler invokes a psychological device by which the response to a query can be so horrible that it seems to the listener as if it was not given at all.
In the film, he is voiced by Jude Law. A commentary track entitled "Brad Silberling and the real Lemony Snicket Commentary" was recorded for the DVD released on 26 April 2005. Brad Silberling is the movie's director, and the "real Lemony Snicket" joke is a jibe aimed at Jude Law, considered the "Imposter Lemony Snicket."
In the video game, he is voiced by Tim Curry.
This is only a list published under the "Lemony Snicket" name. For works published by "Daniel Handler", see Daniel Handler#List of works.
A Series of Unfortunate Events and accompanying works
- The Bad Beginning (1999)
- The Reptile Room (1999)
- The Wide Window (2000)
- The Miserable Mill (2000)
- The Austere Academy (2000)
- The Ersatz Elevator (2001)
- The Vile Village (2001)
- The Hostile Hospital (2001)
- The Carnivorous Carnival (2002)
- The Slippery Slope (2003)
- The Grim Grotto (2004)
- The Penultimate Peril (2005)
- The End (2006)
- Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (2002)
- The Dismal Dinner (2004)
- The Beatrice Letters (2006)
- 13 Shocking Secrets You'll Wish You Never Knew About Lemony Snicket (2006)
- The Blank Book (2004)
- The Notorious Notations (2006)
- The Puzzling Puzzles (2004, 2006)
- Who Could That Be at This Hour? (2012)
- When Did You See Her Last? (2013)
- Shouldn't You Be in School? (2014)
- Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? (2015)
- Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid (2007)
- Read Something Else: Collected & Dubious Wit & Wisdom of Lemony Snicket (2019)
- Poison for Breakfast (2021)
Short children's books
- The Baby in the Manger (2002)
- The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming (2007)
- The Lump of Coal (2008)
- The Composer Is Dead (2009)
- 13 Words (2010)
- The Dark (2013)
- 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy (2014)
- Goldfish Ghost (2017)
- The Bad Mood and the Stick (2017)
- Swarm of Bees (2019)
- Comics for Little Lit: It Was a Dark and Silly Night... (2003)
- Introduction and reader's companion for The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily (2005) – the book is also referenced in A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Introduction and unfinished short story in Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out (2005)
- Foreword for When a Sentence Ends in a Surprising Gazebo: Stories and Poems From 826 Seattle Writing Workshops (2009)
- The short story "Something You Ought to Know" in Half-Minute Horrors edited by Susan Rich (2009)
- Short stories "The Shadowy Abyss of Our Own Fates" and "Meanwhile, Near a Meadow" in The Exquisite Corpse Adventure (2011)
- Introduction to The Chronicles of Harris Burdick (2011)
- Commentator for "Playground" in New American Haggadah (2012)
- Foreword for The 826 Quarterly Vol. 17 (2013)
- Prose "All Good Slides Are Slippery" for Poetry Vol. 202, No. 5 (September 2013)
- Foreword for The Complete Peanuts 1989-1990 (Vol. 20) (2013)
- Alibi in Who Done It? anthology (2018)
- Introduction for The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 (2014)
- The poem "Count Your Blessings" in One Minute till Bedtime (2016)
- The short story "The Hero of the Story" in Guys Read: Heroes & Villains (2017)
- A prompt and a response for The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection (2019)
- Lemony Snicket constantly defining words and his sometimes condescending and patronizing way of speaking to the reader is likely a parody and satire of how children's books are often dumbed down and treat the reader as unintelligent.
- Lemony Snicket is essentially Daniel Handler's persona in his narrative works, and an extension of himself, although in public, Handler says he is Lemony Snicket's "legal literary and social representative".
- He once sent a letter to a fan with the secret message "Olaf nearby".
- He has a green commonplace book.
- By the time of The Beatrice Letters, his office is the Rhetorical Building.
- Daniel Handler has said that Lemony Snicket represents a man who "reminded myself of me and was trapped in a world even more ridiculous and full of despair and gloom than I was in."
- When asked what was holding up Snicket in the year 2020, Handler said that Snicket was "the last person [he'd] expect to see on Zoom." He elaborated, "At a time of viral fear and rising fascism, those are not things Mr. Snicket enjoys. I would be stunned if he showed up to something like this."
- Lemony Snicket rarely attends parties.
- Lemony Snicket is illustrated with dark hair in ATWQ. However, in "The Hero of the Story" which occurs afterwards, he is illustrated with light hair. As an adult, he seems to have dark hair.
- He finds Parcheesi to be inane.
- He dislikes maple syrup, as he "can't shake the feeling" that it's like drinking blood from a tree.
- When sweeping up his cut hair, Lemony remarks that "Some people are so sentimental that they keep locks of hair from people they love, but nobody wanted what I was sweeping." Interestingly, he later is gifted a lock of hair from Beatrice, which he returns upon their breakup.
- During the series, his favorite book is The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily by Dino Buzzati.
- In Chapter Fourteen of The End, Beatrice wrote in A Series of Unfortunate Events commonplace book that if Violet was a boy, "he" would have been named Lemony. It is noted that it is a family custom to name after the deceased.
- He despises the term "tomboy", saying in The Penultimate Peril that "it is insulting term inflicted on girls whose behavior some people find unusual."
- Patrick Warburton, Snicket's actor in the Netflix show, got an ankle tattoo.
|A. Snicket||B. Snicket||Chas. Snicket|
|D. Snicket||E. Snicket †||Jacob Snicket †||F. Snicket|
|G. Snicket||H. Snicket||I. Snicket||Jacques Snicket †||Kit Snicket †||Lemony Snicket||M. Snicket||N. Snicket||O. Snicket|
|Beatrice Baudelaire II|
|Snicket Father †||Snicket Mother †||Unnamed Parents †|
|Jacques Snicket †||Kit Snicket †||Lemony Snicket||Dewey Denouement †||Ernest Denouement||Frank Denouement|
|Beatrice Baudelaire II|
- PROSE: Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
- PROSE: The Hostile Hospital
- PROSE: Who Could That Be at This Hour?
- ATWQ Profile
- A Series of Unfortunate Events calendar
- PROSE: The Ersatz Elevator
- PROSE: When Did You See Her Last?
- PROSE: Shouldn't You Be in School?
- PROSE: The Beatrice Letters
- PROSE: The Slippery Slope
- PROSE: Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
- PROSE: The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations
- Reddit Post
- Zoom Interview with Daniel Handler
- PROSE: File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents
- Instagram Post