|“||I'm a journalist, Snicket. A dangerous story is an interesting story, and interesting stories belong in the newspaper.||”|
— Moxie Mallahan, When Did You See Her Last?
Moxie has helped Lemony Snicket on multiple occasions. When Snicket sees her, he often says, "What's the news, Moxie?"
Moxie is a very inquisitive and curious person, always asking questions of everyone and everything around her. In search of answers she is often courageous to the point of being reckless, such as the time she was stabbed trying to help Lemony despite the fact he told her many times that it would be dangerous and that she didn’t need to in WDYSHL. Many of these traits seem to be picked up from her parents, both of them being successful journalists, particularly the attitude of “A good polite voice is the journalist's best tool” from her mother.
She has quite a bit of a jealous streak, as well as a tendency to quickly assume people’s feelings and thoughts without full context. This is especially prominent in her interactions with Lemony in regards to Ellington Feint, she tends to assume that he’s thinking about her and get snappy with him because of it.
Connected to both her reckless curiosity and jealousy, she’s extremely loyal. She’s very happy being called an associate of both Lemony and the entire association of associates, devoting herself to helping them and the rest of Stain’d-By-The-Sea.
Moxie was born to two journalists who ran The Stain'd Lighthouse, which was the only newspaper in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. The paper ran from the family's lighthouse; photographs were developed in the basement, reporters would type up stories in the lantern room, papers would be printed with the town's ink, and then they would be dried on the hawser that ran from the lighthouse to the Sallis Mansion, as the Sallis's were old friends of the Mallahans. The newspaper's mascot was the Bombinating Beast, as legend claimed that hundreds of years before, Lady Mallahan slew the Bombinating Beast on a voyage.
Moxie's parents taught her about journalism and how to get information; her mother told her "a good polite voice is the journalist's best tool because people are more likely to tell you important information if you treat them nicely." Her father also taught her the term "troublesome underlings", as he used to jokingly call his employees that.
After Ignatius Knight drained the sea to find more ink, the ink in town started to fade, making articles seem less certain, and the paper was shut down. Moxie's mother left town, claiming that she was leaving for a job at another newspaper and would eventually send for them, though she never planned to return nor send for her family. Her father fell into a depression, leaving Moxie as the only reporter left in town. She stopped going to school in order to help support her father. During her journalism research, she came across some mentions of VFD, and knew that it was a secret organization, though she didn't learn much else.
Six months before Lemony Snicket arrives in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, Moxie receives a telegram asking to buy her family's Bombinating Beast statue. However, Moxie was unable to reply, as the telegram dispatch closed due to ink shortages.
|“||Lemony Snicket, you can shoo me off to Handkerchief Heights. But I know more about this town than you do. You can’t solve this mystery alone.||”|
— Moxie Mallahan, Who Could That Be at This Hour?
S. Theodora Markson and Lemony Snicket are hired to investigate a stolen statue by Murphy Sallis, who believes that it was taken by the Mallahan family. They go to the Mallahan Lighthouse, and when they arrive, Snicket is left with Moxie, who is sitting on the steps and typing. She hands him her business card and then tries to interview him. He eventually tells her- off the record- that he's solving a mystery connected to the Bombinating Beast. Moxie laughs and takes him up to the newsroom of the lighthouse, which is now abandoned but still holds a collection of Bombinating Beast merchandise. Moxie shows him the collection, including a small statue replica of the beast, which is what Snicket had been looking for.
That night, Snicket arrives at the lighthouse and invites Moxie to a burglary taking place at her home; S. Theodora is planning to use the hawser to steal "back" the Bombinating Beast Statue, and asked Snicket to sneak into the tower and let her in. Moxie doesn't care about the statue, so she agrees to help him; she shows him the telegram, and he fixes them dinner. The bell rings, signaling that the residents of Stain'd-by-the-Sea should wear their masks, which Moxie believes is to prevent salt lung. They both read in the study until the bell signals an all-clear, and when Moxie says she wants to watch the burglary, Snicket tells her to hide, as Theodora probably wouldn't approve of her watching the robbery. He lets Theodora into the lighthouse, and they steal the statue and leave.
The next morning, Moxie receives a call that she thinks is from Snicket, telling her that he's solved the mystery of the Bombinating Beast and to go to Handkerchief Heights with her father; she can't awaken her father, so she goes alone and finds that someone had been living in the supposedly abandoned house recently. Snicket arrives later and tells her that he hadn't been the one to call, and she'd received a call from Hangfire, who wanted the statue and could imitate voices. Before he can answer more of Moxie's questions, they hear screaming from the nearby Sallis Mansion. They enter the house, and have to search it; Snicket tells Moxie to do the scary thing first and get scared later.
Moxie and Snicket figure out the screaming is coming from the basement, which is being flooded; a woman is tied up and left to drown, and while Snicket drains the water, Moxie unties the woman, who Snicket believes is Murphy Sallis. Moxie informs him that was not Mrs. Salliis- the real Mrs. Sallis was named Dot, and had known Moxie for a while. Snicket figures out that the woman is an actress, Dame Sally Murphy, and his entire mission had been fake. Snicket tries to help the hysterical woman, saying he's part of an organization, though he doesn't explain it to Moxie when Sally Murphy refuses and they leave. Snicket asks her to investigate Handkerchief Heights while he goes into town.
Snicket meets Moxie at her lighthouse to return the statue, which he'd retrieved from Ellington Feint, and to explain the mystery. However, when he gives her the bag that holds the statue, Moxie realizes that Ellington had replaced the statue with a bag of coffee, and Snicket sees her running away into the woods.
|“||“Boredom is not black licorice, Snicket. There’s no reason to share it with me.||”|
— Moxie Mallahan, When Did You See Her Last?
Snicket is hired to investigate the disappearance of Cleo Knight, but he doesn't believe that Polly Partial, who claims that she saw her talking about running away to join the circus, is a reliable witness. He goes to Moxie's lighthouse, and she is angry at him for never visiting, as she's been bored. Snicket tells her about his mission, and asks for her help; he needs her to give him a bowl cut, like Stew Mitchum, though he doesn't immediately explain why. He explains all the clues while she cuts his hair, He asks her what she knows about the Knight family, She explains a brief history of Ink Inc.; the two founders left the company to Ignatius Knight when Ingrid Nummet Knight died and Colonel Colophon was injured when a statue in his honor was blown up and he was moved fulltime to the Colophon Clinic. Ignatius drained the sea, stalling the closure of Ink Inc. but not helping the economic collapse of the town.
Moxie and Snicket take the Bellerophon Taxi into town, and Moxie asks Pip and Squeak if they'd driven Cleo Knight anywhere; they say they haven't, which disproves Polly Partial's story. They get out a Partial Foods, and Snicket goes into the store and steals two melons, before hiding them and antagonizing the Officers Mitchum to get himself arrested. Moxie goes along with them to the station, claiming that she just wants to report on the happenings of the town. Moxie helps Harvey Mitchum move a file cabinet next to Snicket and Stew for a lineup; Polly Partial incorrectly identifies Stew as the thief, which proves she is not a reliable witness for the Knight Case, as her sight is failing. The Mitchums decide to go interrogate Dr. Flammarion, as Snicket suggests he may know where Cleo is, but they forbid Moxie and Snicket from investigating further. Stew tries to trip the kids on their way out, so Moxie swings her typewriter against his knee.
The two of them head to the library, and Dashiell Qwerty, the sub-librarian, tells Moxie about how after some books have gone missing and threats have been made, he's reorganizing the shelves and installing a sprinkler system. Snicket and Moxie go to the aisles of the library to do research, and she decides to research Colonel Colophon, as Dr. Flammarion works at his clinic and is a suspect in Cleo's kidnapping. She seems very happy when Snicket calls her an associate, though he's reluctant to ask her to join the case entirely for her own safety.
Moxie's research doesn't yield much, as all she finds is that Colonel Colophon is a teetotaler and that the war he fought in wasn't as black-and-white as she'd been led to believe. She shows Snicket the information about the statue unveiling ceremony that injured Colophon, and some pictures of him wandering the ground of the clinic, which has a bench shaped like the Bombinating Beast, meaning that could be connected to the case. Snicket leaves to talk to Qwerty while Moxie types up some notes.
Snicket leaves the library and returns to find an angry Moxie, who is not happy about being left behind to read Military History. She manages to charm S. Theodora Markson into leaving them alone, and Snicket explains that he'd had to follow someone and didn't want to put her in danger, a sentiment she doesn't appreciate. He tells her all he found out, and she explains that while he was gone, she discovered that the statue's explosion that injured Colophon may have been caused by the Inhumane Society, who were angry that a tree that housed endangered creatures had been torn down to put up a statue celebrating war.
Snicket takes her to Hungry's Diner, where they meet with Pip, Squeak, and Jake Hix. Jake fixes them gashouse eggs, and then Snicket explains that Cleo had been kidnapped by Dr. Flammarion in order to steal her formula for Invisible Ink fo the Inhumane Society. Pip and Squeak drive Moxie and Snicket to the Colophon Clinic to rescue her, as Jake takes Cleo's Dilemma.
After making a plan, Snicket and Moxie go into the Colophon Clinic. The receptionist is a member of the Inhumane Society, Nurse Dander, so Snicket pretends to be delivering flowers to Colonel Colophon. Unfortunately, he has to leave Moxie behind at the desk when he leaves. Eventually, Pip and Squeak come in to cause a distraction, and a fight breaks out; Nurse Dander uses her knife to injure Moxie, giving her a long cut on her arm.
Snicket returns with Jake and Cleo, as Flammarion and Dander are arrested, and Cleo tends to Moxie's wound. Snicket leaves early, and Moxie asks him where she's going, but all he says is that he has a job to do.
- Moxie Mallahan: I was in the archives of The Stain'd Lighthouse, looking through the articles my mother wrote when she was still a reporter in town.
- Lemony Snicket: I bet she was a good one, if her daughter is any indication.
Pinched Creature/Dishonest Salesman
Snicket is spending the afternoon with Moxie, reading and having an uneventful time, when her neighbor, Oliver Sobol, the son of two veterinarians, arrives requesting help. Moxie introduces him and tells him that if he ever wants company, to come visit her and play Parcheesi, as Snicket thinks the game is inane. Oliver explains that he lost a rare newt that he needs to deliver to his father at his new job, and he believes it was stolen by Polly Partial, who was his only client that day.
Oliver takes them to the Sobol Office, and Moxie takes her typewriter with her. On the way over, they find a man standing outside a car with a flat tire. Moxie gives him directions to a garage, and she and Oliver ask him if he'd seen anyone suspicious or a missing newt. Snicket figures out that the man is the thief, and returns the newt to Oliver.
On a Friday, Snicket has an unchaperoned day and visits Moxie, where they play a dice game. Snicket describes it as "the sort of dice game you could play for money", though they didn't, which was good for Snicket, as Moxie kept beating him.
Twelve or Thirteen/Chalked Name
Moxie is reading old newspapers in the archives of The Stain'd Lightouse, when she finds an article she finds interesting, and she brings it to Snicket. The article is about a sled race at the Ethan Frome Festival, which was once a fun event in town that was canceled during the fading of the ink industry. She shows him that the article describes twelve competitors in the sled race, but the photo shows thirteen. She also explains that there was a theft on the day of the festival; a painting of Gary Dorian, Stain'd-by-the-Sea's famed cosmetician, was stolen and found in the home of the race's winner, Chase B. Willow. He'd been sentenced, though he continued to maintain his innocence.
The two head back to the archives, though Moxie lets Snicket investigate on his own for a while, while she makes limeade and checks on her father. When Moxie arrives, she shows him some pictures of the race, where they realize that his wife, who was supposedly holding his sled in a photo, was holding a completely different sled. They realize that she stole the painting and framed her husband, Moxie and Snicket notify the authorities in town, only to find out that Willow escaped prison sometime before with a skeleton key.
- Moxie Mallahan, handing Snicket the article on Kit: I've been meaning to give you this back. It made for some interesting reading.
- Lemony Snicket: Really? It's just a newspaper article. It's not about anyone you know.
Moxie meets up with Snicket at the library, informing him that she'd been looking through the archives of the newspaper, telling him that she did find something of interest; Porter Roeman, who ran the Roe House, told reporters he opposed the draining of the sea, as it would adversely affect the marine life. The Roe House, which use to be a caviar business at 350 Wayward Way, closed after the sea drained and they lost their supply of plankton. She is wondering if the Roe House is Hangfire's new headquarters, as they had lots of aquatic equipment in their last center, the Colophon Clinic. They agree to go, but before they do, Moxie asks him to give her the newspaper article he's hiding under the book he's pretending to read. S. Theodora Markson arrives and tells Snicket she needs him for a case, and Moxie manages to get the newspaper article from Snicket before he leaves. The article is about his sister, Kit Snicket, who had recently been arrested for robbing a museum.
Moxie is later at Hungry's Diner, with Jake and Kellar Haines. When Snicket arrives, Kellar starts acting suspicious, asking Jake and Moxie if they go to school, and then talking about how there are no Italian limes in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, before leaving; Moxie notices that he left her business card behind. Jake serves them tomato-watermelon gazpacho, as S. Theodora Markson and Sharon Haines enter and announce they've solved the case of the recent string of arsons; they have sent the Officers Mitchum to arrest Dashiell Qwerty, who they believe to be the arsonist. Moxie, Jake, and Snicket don't believe they're correct in that assumption. and Moxie presses Snicket to tell them about the case once the adults leave. He explains that he believes the arsons to be started by Hangfire, and he asks Moxie to research the Department of Education, as they were the ones who hired him and Theodora for the case.
The next day, Moxie meets with Snicket, Jake, and Cleo at Hungry's. Snicket is now concerned about the arson that happened the night before, at Stain'd Secondary, which caused all of the students to be transferred to Wade Academy on Offshore Island. Moxie doesn't want to talk about what she found out in the diner, as there are several adults also there she's not sure she can trust. The group leaves in Cleo's Dilemma towards 350 Wayward Way, where the Department of Education is supposedly located.
They discuss the case on the way over, and Snicket finds out from Cleo that the Italian word for lime is Limetta, as in Harold Limetta, the supposed witness to the arsons; Kellar had been trying to tell them that he didn't exist. As they enter the building, Moxie tells Snicket that Stain'd-by-the-Sea does not have a Department of Education; the entire case is a sham.
A van marked Department of Truancy- another fake organization- parks outside the building, and Sharon Haines and Hangfire emerge in masks. Moxie fails to sweet-talk them into leaving them alone, and Hangfire smashes Moxie's typewriter before they kidnap her, Jake, Cleo, and Kellar, taking them to Wade Academy.
When they arrive at Wade Academy, Stew, who is allowed to patrol the halls of the school, tries to rip up Moxie's notes, only stopped because Cleo kicks him in the shin. The students at Wade Academy are drugged with laudanum, but Cleo finds some bark that reverses the effects if chewed on. There isn't enough to go around, so Moxie goes without and begins to feel the effects of the laudanum.
Moxie, Jake, Cleo, Kellar, and Ornette Lost all meet in the library that night, which is filled with blank books. Ellington Feint, who snuck into the school in disguise to try and find her father, brings Snicket, who also snuck in earlier that day. Ellington makes coffee for all of them, which helps Moxie to recuperate, and they all discuss Hangfire's plan. Snicket shows them his tattoo, which Moxie realizes makes up the initials VFD. Snicket explains the organization and recruits them as ad hoc members, and Moxie jokes that she'd rather not get a tattoo. Snicket then asks them all to go on the school field trip the next day and then sneak away and meet at Hungry's.
The next morning, the students are told to put on masks, and Moxie meets with her associates before they board the bus. While Ornette distracts Stew, Snicket has them throw a wheelbarrow over the wall and then asks them to also throw over the library's blank books. He doesn't explain why, only saying that they should work on a fragmentary plot. Moxie then boards the bus with the others and salutes Snicket and the Bellerophon Brothers, who follow the bus in their taxi.
She manages to sneak away with Jake and Cleo to get to Hungry's, where they meet Snicket, who was beaten up by Stew Mitchum. He tells them that Hangfire plans to burn down Dicey's Department Store, and asks them to go there to stop him; however, Hangfire actually sent Stew to burn down the library, and Snicket and Ellington go there to stop him. Before they separate, Moxie returns the newspaper article, telling him that she's surprised he didn't leave town to help Kit.
Later, Kellar gives Moxie the typewriter that he'd been using at 350 Wayward Way, and she meets with her associates at Handkerchief Heights, where they discuss Hangfire's plan so far. Snicket explains that they shouldn't be seen together much, in order to keep Hangfire from figuring out what they're doing; they have to work on a Fragmentary Plot. Moxie then hands out small business cards she made for each of the Associates, citing their name and occupation, to be used for official business. They end the dinner with a game of Beethoven, and then Moxie returns to the lighthouse; as Kellar's mother is still working for Hangfire, he's temporarily living with her and her father.
|“||That book was destroyed because of you, and you destroyed Hangfire, too. You murdered him, Snicket. You didn't have to feed him to that creature, but you did.||”|
— Moxie Mallahan, Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
Moxie comes up with a plan to catch Hangfire; she has Ornette fold a false statue of the Bombinating Beast, and then tells Hangfire to meet her on the train out of town, The Thistle of the Valley, where he'll be caught by the authorities. When she gets on the train, she has to pull Snicket inside, as he jumps onto the edge of the train to cling to the railings; Ornette sent him a folded train, and his chaperone also snuck aboard.
She shows Snicket her fake Bombinating Beast, only to be interrupted by Gifford and Ghede, members of VFD, who are disguised as conductors. Snicket gets out of not having a ticket, as he recognizes them and threatens to tell Moxie, a journalist, about how they tried to kidnap him. After they leave, Moxie explains her plan to him over a lunch Jake prepared for her. They hear an argument from the car beside them, which Moxie identifies as the prison car, the place Qwerty is being held. Snicket listens in to the argument he is having with Theodora, and then Snicket hears some kind of fight. He leaves Moxie in her compartment while he goes to investigate.
He later sends Kellar to her compartment, where the two of them find out they had the same plan, and two false Bombinating Beast statues; Hangfire must know their plans are fake and has evaded their plan. Snicket returns, and Jake and Cleo also enter, having snuck on the train when it stopped. Snicket reveals to them that Qwerty was murdered and Theodora was framed for the crime. He then leaves to confront Hangfire.
While he's gone, the group is joined by Ornette, and they manage to make a report of the case with all of their notes. When Snicket returns, he tells them that he's agreed to give the statue- which he doesn't have- to Hangfire in exchange for Theodora's release. Stew arrives to escort Snicket to Hangfire, and Moxie threatens to fight him should he try to hurt her associate. When Snicket leaves, Moxie also departs to fetch Gifford and Ghede, who are VFD authorities.
Moxie later confronts Hangfire with her other associates, when Ellington gives him the Bombianting Beast statue in exchange for her father. Snicket steals the statue and summons the Bombinating Beast, and he feeds Hangfire to it, an event that horrifies Moxie and severs her attachment to him; Snicket notices that she barely looks at him after this.
After the train crash, Moxie sits outside with the others, and she helps her associates explain the mystery to all the other passengers. She also decides not to help Snicket try to free Ellington, who's been helping Hangfire since she arrived in town, though she does say she's typing up the truth. Snicket eventually leaves, going into the Clusterous Forest, and Moxie finishes a page of type and gives him a wave goodbye.
Moxie has dark gray eyes that Snicket described as "dark grey, as if they had once been black but somebody had washed them or had made her cry for a long time." Her hair color is unknown but the illustrations show it is light-colored. She is not taller than Snicket, as stated in Who Could That Be at This Hour? ("She was not taller than me, but I still had to look up to meet her eyes"), and in illustrations, she appears to be shorter than him. She wears a hat that is "brown with a rounded top like a lowercase a" and stores business cards in the hat's band. Her shoes are described to be heavy and brown. She carries a typewriter everywhere she goes. She’s quite strong, as stated in Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights? (“You don’t lug around a typewriter for a few years without getting a few muscles”).
- "Moxie" is a slang word meaning "courage, audacity, spirit" as well as "vigour, enterprise, skill, shrewdness."
- Her surname could potentially be a reference to James Mallahan Cain, a journalist and crime fiction author.
- There is some evidence that indicates she has a romantic attachment towards Snicket; every time Snicket admits that he is thinking about Ellington Feint, Moxie seems to be jealous and tells him she doesn't matter. In When Did You See Her Last?, she is annoyed at Snicket's absence at her home, but claims that she is bored when he asks.
- A popular theory is that Moxie is the editor of the A Series of Unfortunate Events novels, who Snicket writes to throughout the thirteen books. Some also believe that Snicket does not know it is Moxie.
- Snicket revealed in a 2015 Q&A that he does not see Moxie again.
- According to her character profile, her favorite book is The Portable Dorothy Parker.
|Lady Mallahan †|
|Mr. Mallahan||Ms. Mallahan|