Book title: Who Could That Be at This Hour?
Author: Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Seth
Series: All the Wrong Questions, #1
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)
Release date: October 2012
Format: Hardcover, 258 pages
The adventure began in a fading town. Far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket started an apprenticeship for a secret organization shrouded in mystery and secrecy. He asked questions that shouldn’t have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published that shouldn’t be read. Not even by you. Seriously, we recommend that you do NOT ask your parents for this, the first book in his new ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS series.
Lemony Snicket, in case you don’t already know, grew up to be the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events series.
Lemony Snicket is famous for his A Series of Unfortunate Events. This is the first book in his other middle grade series, All the Wrong Questions, which follows his own very true fictional adventures as an apprentice doing very secret, mysterious things. Who Could That Be at This Hour? is a quirky book that raises many more questions than it answers. The writing includes big words that Lemony so cleverly defines. His voice is rather pretentious, his mind and mouth ask all the wrong questions, and he puts his trust in all the wrong people. The plot, put simply, is about Lemony’s case to retrieve a worthless stolen statue that everyone wants but that was never stolen to begin with. Seth’s fun illustrations, all in blue tones, pepper the book throughout, which add greatly to the story’s foreboding and curious atmosphere.
This book is classic Lemony Snicket. It has an eerie charm to it. It has prickly, hard-to-like characters that seem almost like caricatures. Everyone has an air of mystery about them and everyone is hiding secrets we may or may not ever get to know about.
One great thing about this book is its setting: “The town is called Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Of course, it is no longer by the sea, as they’ve drained it away. But the town still manufactures ink that was once famous for making the darkest, most permanent stains.” Explains Lemony’s chaperone, S. Theodora Markson on page 27. And no, we never find out what the S stands for. Many of the other names are fun, too, and really match their characters: Moxie Mallahan, Dashiell Qwerty, Prosper Lost, Ellington Feint… But the best is the stolen statue, called the Bombinating Beast.
I found the book to be a cute little jaunt back into Lemony Snicket’s writing, but I am no longer the target audience. Kids will love it, I am sure, but the book has little crossover appeal, at least in my opinion. Lemony is a terrific writer with hilarious and completely off-the-wall ideas, but I just wasn’t that interested in this story and I don’t think I’ll continue with the All the Wrong Questions series. A Series of Unfortunate Events is a rare work of genius with characters you care about and characters you loathe — there’s real emotional investment to be had with those books. Who Could That Be at This Hour? wasn’t my cup’o coffee, but I do appreciate it and still highly recommend it to younger readers. ♦
Have you read Who Could That Be at This Hour?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
Have you read any Lemony Snicket books before?
What’s a book you’ve read about the search for a lost/stolen item?
Comment below letting me know!
And, as always, happy reading!