Who Could That Be at This Hour?
All the Wrong Questions 1
by Lemony Snicket
Little, Brown and Company hardcover
“A mystery is solved with a story, and the story starts with a clue.” But what is that clue, and what story will come of it? Who Could That Be at This Hour? introduces us to thirteen-year-old Lemony Snicket who is off to learn under a chaperone, the one S. Theodora Markson who is ranked last out of the 52 available chaperones. The two of them steal away from Snicket’s parents, who are not his parents, and travel to the nearly deserted town Stain’d-by-the-Sea to help a client retrieve a stolen item that wasn’t actually stolen. From there, the story takes a perplexing turn. A word which here means strange and filled with events and people that are not as they seem. And as young Lemony Snicket tries to solve the mystery surrounding a statue of the mythical Bombinating Beast, the case becomes even more bizarre and involves a cast of just as bizarre characters, each with their own secret agenda.
As a fan of the depressing yet enjoyable Series of Unfortunate Events, I was ecstatic when I saw that Lemony Snicket had a new book out and that it was part of a new series for young adults. The book’s site promised good things, and it looked just as fun and uncanny as other works I’ve read of his. Who Could That Be at This Hour? was a quick read, as expected, but I was mildly disappointed. By the end, I was hooked on the intrigue that Mr. Snicket is brewing, but throughout the novel, I found myself looking for more. (I am not sure exactly what I was looking for, so perhaps I was searching for all the wrong things on all the wrong pages.) However, if you’re a fan of Mr. Snicket’s straightforward and somewhat cynical prose and if you enjoy the world he created for the Baudelaires, then Who Could That Be at This Hour? should satisfy. There are hints of a secret organization (could it be the V.F.D.?) and a sister (Beatrice perhaps?), and the young Lemony admits to having a hidden agenda that may or may not be explained in the next three books. But maybe I’ve been asking all the wrong questions myself when it comes to the impenetrable secrets of Mr. Lemony Snicket.
While my rating may seem low, I did enjoy this novel, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Lemony Snicket captured my attention at a young age, and he still has it. The adults in power are frustratingly stubborn and unwilling to listen, and each character (no matter how seemingly insignificant) is delightfully brilliant in their own way. Mr. Snicket’s voice is as peculiar and recognizable as always and a character within itself. He delivers a fast-paced, quirky tale that will still excite and instill a sense of foreboding and dread of future events. Who Could That Be at This Hour? is a perfect tale to drop into and let yourself become wrapped up in for an afternoon. Maybe you’ll discover the right question or think of the right clue that will solve the mystery behind this novel and those to come.
3 AutumRaindrops (out of 5)