In an account of his second “wrong question,” detective’s apprentice Lemony Snicket investigates the disappearance of a young brilliant chemist. With the help of his wacky chaperone, an aspiring journalist and two boys who work together operating a taxi, Snicket uncovers a tangled plot stretching far beyond the simple disappearance of a girl. Far away, his sister faces her own trials, and Snicket laments not being able to help her. Could it all be connected to the vicious Hangfire and his evil plot?
Once again, author Lemony Snicket charms readers with tongue-in-cheek narrative and a hilarious cast of characters. Snicket challenges readers’ vocabulary by including complex words and often defining them within the narrative. It’s a nice way to introduce new words. My daughter and I read both the first and second books in this series together, and she can’t wait to read the next one. We started the Series of Unfortunate Events, and she really likes those books, too, but The Wrong Questions books are a little bit lighter and still have the same kind of humor and silliness. The series has a really unique feel that’s part detective noir and part quirky fantasy. This would make a great summer read, though I recommend starting with the first book.
Brief references to violence. A woman is said several times to be “very good with a knife.” In one slightly creepy scene, Snicket discovers a room with small beds that have manacles attached to them – as if someone is planning to imprison children and experiment on them. Later, Snicket sees a person-shaped hole in a window, which someone has been shoved through.
An apothecary uses laudanum to keep an adult couple in a stupefied state.