Thursday, 26 June 2014

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket

Some of you will have read my review of Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events- if not, why not?- and hopefully you'll have gathered that I absolutely love his writing. His most recent book didn't disappoint.
I believe the title may give away the premise of the book, that it is about 13 suspicious incidents. Each of these incidents is a short story, and each short story conveys the wit and extreme weirdness that applies to all of his writing. Each story ends on Lemony announcing he has solved the mystery, and then you must flick to the back of the book to find a page which holds the answer to this mystery. Of course, this provides excitement, as you flick forward through the pages for the answer to these questions, but it can also mean that you view information, spoilers if you will, from future stories.
One of the things that confused me, ever so slightly, is that, despite a brief mention of all the stories in the last story or the occasional inclusion of elements from 'Who could that be at this hour', the stories were connected in any way, or majorly connected to any of the other stories in the 'All the Wrong Questions' cannon. This isn't that much of a criticism, but a disappointment, as Snicket seems to have excelled Steven Moffat in everything being connected!
The book is quick paced and funny, with strange ideas and a good use in characters, however I believe Snicket needs to create another character to replace Stewie Mitchum, who seems to be the only child in the series who can be seen as a proper 'baddy'. Each character oozes with the strangeness of Lemony Snicket himself, and each character is perfectly written and characterised. The names are also fantastic, but then we are talking about someone who created Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire. My personal favourite name, and character, from the series would have to be Dashiell Qwerty, the librarian. As usual, the librarians in Snickets writing are made to seem heroes, but remain mysterious, and as usual, Dashiell Qwerty conforms to this.
However, there are some problems. I'm unsure as to whether this is because of my being older than the target audience- 7-11 year olds, I'd presume- but I found the mysteries quite obvious, or at least some of them. I think in some cases, Snicket has run out of ideas, and decided that he can't have a book called 11 Suspicious Incidents, and just made up some exceptionally simple cases. My main points in this would have to be Three Suspects, of which you needn't even read the conclusion, and the Figure in the Fog, which the answer to is the classic 'mystery author in crisis' approach. And no, it isn't 'the butler did it'!
But apart from that, Lemony Snickets new book is just like all his others, absolutely brilliant and totally engaging. If you want to get a taste of what the Lemony Snicket books are like, I would recommend this, it is brilliant. Completely and utterly brilliant, and paints a perfect picture of what the rest of the Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions are about.

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