|“||Think of something noble and true, like a librarian or a good crisp apple or a sweater that doesn't itch, and then think of the opposite, and that's Stew Mitchum. He was a rat and a nuisance and many other troublesome words I knew, the sort of person who might dump a whole shaker on your head if you asked him to pass the salt. A little salt on my egg would have been good, but I didn't risk it.||”|
Stewart "Stew" Mitchum is the son of Harvey and Mimi Mitchum. He first appears in Who Could That Be at This Hour? trying to slingshot Lemony Snicket in the library, and throughout the series of All the Wrong Questions. He is an increasingly dangerous bully who is always innocent in the eyes of his parents.
At first, Stew is shown as a generic bully who derives pleasure in harming small animals and people. He is easily provoked by smart remarks, and has a rather short temper. In front of his parents, however, he acts well-behaved, well-mannered and seemingly cute, such as when he claims to want to befriend Lemony, acts angered at being distracted from giving himself a spelling test and crying to his parents about the 'liberry' being destroyed by water.
Stew's darker nature surfaces upon revealing his relation to Nurse Dander (the aforementioned "friend who is good with a knife") in the second book and then his full involvement in Hangfire's plan in the third book.
|“||Stew Mitchum is like something stuck at the bottom of a waste bin. I try and try to throw him out, but he just sticks there, getting older and older.||”|
Stew was born to Harvey and Mimi Mitchum, the only two police officers left in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Dashiell Qwerty described him as a "public nuisance", and nobody else in town seems to like him, but his parents always turn a blind eye to his behavior and believe he is their perfect son, so he is never punished.
Some of his favorite pastimes are slingshotting rocks at birds and terrorizing Dashiell Qwerty enough that he is no longer allowed in the library. His occupation is sitting in the back of his parents' station wagon/police car and imitating a siren noise.
- Lemony Snicket: You almost hit me.
- Stew Mitchum: I'm trying to get better. I can't be expected to hit my target every time.
Stew is first introduced attempting to hit Lemony Snicket with a slingshot in the library. He tells him that he prefers to slingshot birds and threatens him again after Snicket starts being sarcastic, but Qwerty arrives and kicks him out. Stew then goes and slingshots a steet light, breaking the bulb. His parents accuse Snicket and his chaperone, S. Theodora Markson, of being involved, and Stew acts like he's never met Snicket before and sweetly greets him, though he sticks his tongue out as soon as the adults turn their backs.
Stew is supposedly sleeping in the car after his parents nearly arrest S. Theodora Markson for burglary and then track down Snicket and Ellington Feint at Handkerchief Heights. When Snicket and Ellington enter the police car/station wagon, Stew pinches Snicket on the arm, to which Ellington grabs his wrist and scratches him to intimidate him into behaving.
Two days later, Stew rides with his parents and Theodora to look for Snicket, who did not return home the night before. They find him and Ellington, who have returned with a stolen item. When the officers drop them off at the lighthouse, Stew mocks Snicket and sings a rhyme about him and Ellington kissing in a tree.
- Stew Mitchum: It's too bad you don't want to do business with me. I'm going to be very important around here.
- Lemony Snicket, sarcastically: You already are. You're the sweetest boy the town's ever seen.
As part of his plan to prove Polly Partial an unreliable witness, Snicket cuts his hair to match Stew's and steal two honeydew melons from Partial Foods. While his parents talk to Polly, Stew mocks Snicket, once again pretending to be an angel when his parents arrive. Snicket backtalks the police in order to get himself arrested, and as the Officers argue and take him to the car, Stew watches them "like a shark." Moxie Mallahan goes with the group in order to report on the crime, and Snicket sits in the middle seat so that Stew doesn't pinch her.
At the police station, Harvey asks Stew to stand in the lineup with Snicket and a file cabinet for Polly Partial. When she arrives, she identifies Stew as the thief, which infuriates his parents. After she leaves, Snicket tells them that Polly Partial was the only witness in the Cleo Knight case, but as she is unreliable, it's possible Cleo could still be in danger. The officers take Stew with them to the Knight building to interrogate Dr. Flammarion, as he will need to make a siren noise. Stew tries to trip Snicket on the way out, so Moxie swings her typewriter against his knee.
The Knights left town just before the Mitchums arrive, and they and Theodora track down Snicket and Ellington in Black Cat Coffee; Stew claims he would have given himself a spelling test had he not wasted their time. As the Officers arrest Ellington and argue. Stew threatens Snicket by revealing his connection to Nurse Dander, and therefore the Inhumane Society. Later, when Cleo is found and Flammarion and Dander are arrested, Stew does not seem bothered; he sneers and smirks at them as they are dragged from the Colophon Clinic.
- Stew Mitchum: I'll pay you double tomorrow.
- Jake Hix: You can pay me triple yesterday. The answer is no.
====Walkie-Talkie/Through the Window====
Stew has a breakfast of three chocolate muffins at Hungry's, but the server, Jake Hix cuts him off there, as he doesn't have enough money for a fourth and the boy's already on a sugar rush. Stew offers to pay him double tomorrow, and then call the police on him, but Jake informs him that he hasn't committed a crime. Stew threatens to not leave a tip and leaves to use the bathroom.
As he leaves, he drops one of the walkie-talkies he swiped from his parents under the counter and hides in the bathroom with the other. He calls out pretending to be a spy looking for "George" in order to lead the only two other people in the diner, Jake and Snicket, on a wild goose chase. He accidentally records himself washing his hands, which sounds in the radio, so he pretends the room is being flooded. When he finishes washing his hands, he steals a fourth muffin, just as Jake and Snicket arrive. Jake chases him out, and then refuses to sell him pecan muffins.
On a Saturday, Stew accompanies his parents to Swords, which has been vandalized by the Big Bad Brick Gang. He plays nice while his parents are looking, and then gives Snicket a good, hard poke.
- Stew Mitchum: I don't like you, Snicket. I've never liked you. You're a full portion of my least favorite thing.
- Lemony Snicket: What would that be? Justice? Kindness? Literacy?
Stew claims to his parents that he wants to stop working as a police siren and focus on getting a top-drawer education, and thus he is transferred to Wade Academy, where he continues his work for the Inhumane Society and Hangfire. He goes with his parents to arrest Dashiell Qwerty, where Snicket reveals that he knows Stew is part of the Inhumane Society. Stew threatens him again before leaving.
At Wade Academy, Stew is assigned to patrol the halls, in case any of the schoolchildren that are being held there throw off the effects of the laudanum they're being drugged with and wander off. When Moxie, Jake and Cleo arrive with Kellar, Stew tries to tear up Moxie's notes, and is only stopped by Cleo kicking him in the shin. That night, Snicket sneaks in, and Stew manages to knock him out and smash the phonongraph he carries with him, though he is unable to drag him into the building and leaves to get help. When he returns, Snicket has disappeared.
Snicket is not found by the next day, so Stew and Sharon Haines take the drugged students outside to prepare for a field trip. In order to distract Stew, Ornette pretends that her mask- which the bell has rung to signal they all should wear- is blinding her, and stumbles off while Stew follows her.
Wade Academy is brought on a field trip to Partial Foods, where Stew and Sharon force the students to steal honeydew melons from the loading dock. Ornette distracts Stew again while Jake, Cleo and Moxie sneak away.
Stew manages to spot Snicket watching them and hits him with a stick, injuring him. Hangfire arrives, and Stew gives Snicket one last warning to mind his own business, "accidentally" saying that they're going to burn down Dicey's Department Store- though the plan is to burn down the library and destroy the one book that might be able to stop them. Knowing that Snicket won't give up, Hangfire tells Stew to make sure he suffers, as he has a particular revulsion for members of VFD.
Stew goes to the library that night, and attacks Snicket, who arrives with Ellington. Stew attempts to set the library on fire, but Ellington turns on the sprinklers with the fire alarm. When the Officers arrive, Stew claims that Ellington has destroyed the library, which gets her arrested. Theodora, also fooled, tells Stew that he is a hero, to which he claims that "liberries" are his favorite thing in the world.
|“||My parents are the only law from the outskirts of Stain'd-by-the-Sea in the hinterlands to the boundary of the Clusterous Forest. We've passed that boundary now. We're in lawless territory, bookworms.||”|
— Stew Mitchum, Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
Following a plan set by Hangfire, Stew goes with his parents onto The Thistle of the Valley, a train leading out of Stain'd-by-the-Sea and to the city, as Qwerty and Ellington are being escorted there for trial. Stew climbs along the side of the train and murders Qwerty with a poison dart, before escaping into another compartment, which holds three librarians, who he threatens into claiming they saw Theodora commit the murder. The only other witness to his crime, Ellington, trades her silence for her freedom. Now that the Mitchums know what their son is capable of, they are terrified and do whatever he tells them. Stew tries to threaten Snicket into leaving the investigation alone, which doesn't work.
Hangfire tells Stew to bring Snicket to a compartment, where Sharon Haines will pretend to be him while masked while he gets the statue from Ellington. Stew arrives to fetch Snicket, where Moxie threatens him and Snicket's other associates leave to get the authorities and witnesses- including Sally Murphy, who Stew believed to be "taken care of." Stew brings Snicket to Sharon, who accidentally reveals the ruse when Snicket mentions that her daughter, Lizzie, is onboard the train. Stew then follows Snicket to Hangfire and Ellington, and witnesses the summoning of the Bombinating Beast and the subsequent murder of Hangfire.
After the train crashes, his parents arrest Ellington for Qwerty's murder in order to keep Stew out of jail, though the librarians are now brave enough to admit he was the killer. However, Snicket warns Stew that now Hangfire is dead, the Inhumane Society will fall apart, which will leave him alone and without allies.
Stew is about the same age as Lemony Snicket, and is described as looking "like the child of a man and a log," with a big, thick neck and a bowlcut. He is about four and a half feet tall. He is also described as having chubby fingers.
- His surname could be a reference to noir actor Robert Mitchum.
- He is noted to be shorter than Lemony Snicket.
- He never eats fruit or vegetables.
|Harvey Mitchum||Mimi Mitchum||Sister|