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Book Reviews: Lemony Snicket All the Wrong Questions: ‘When Did You See Her Last?

Book Reviews: Lemony Snicket All the Wrong Questions: ‘When Did You See Her Last?
When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
Series: Lemony Snicket: All The Wrong Questions #2
Published by Egmont on 15 October 2013

The second in the highly anticipated new series by Lemony Snicket, the enigmatic author of the bestselling 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'. In the fading town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea young apprentice Lemony Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl. Is the girl a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? Was she seen last at the grocery store? Or could she have stopped at the diner? Is it really any of your business? These are all the wrong questions.


Star rating: * * * * *   5 out of 5  

This is the second book in a series called All the wrong questions by Lemony Snicket. I didn’t read the first book in the series but this did not spoil my enjoyment or understanding of this one. This book is about the mystery of a missing girl called Cleo Knight whose parents are being drugged by an evil ‘doctor’.

My favourite part would have to be when Lemony Snicket got arrested on purpose. I mean why would anyone WANT to get arrested!?

I also thought it was hilarious when the police kept on bickering all the time and the only way to stop them was to interrupt them! The story is told in lots of detail in lots of different ways, for example the obvious way and then in a funny way and maybe in the silver lining way or from the negative perspective. So you get the story in all different ways.

It is an excellent book to read if you want lots of book recommendations because there is lots of talk about book recommendations in this book, which is unusual.  For example it tells you to read “Despair” which may be a real book but I question whether all the recommendations are for real books! I am dubious. I myself would recommend “A series of unfortunate events” also by Lemony Snicket.

My favourite character was Moxie because she has a cool name and a cool job. She is a reporter who never has much to report because she lives in a deserted town! This is good because she can laze around and do what she wants all day.

Overall: AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Star rating: * * * * *   5 out of 5

There was a girl who had disappeared, and there was a 13 year old Lemony Snicket, and there was a book telling the tale. A book involving associates competent and incompetent, invisible ink, stolen melons, and mistaken identities. A book called When Did You See Her Last, the second in the All The Wrong Questions series. A series that managed to be a pastiche of the hard-boiled detective novels of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, whilst never feeling hackneyed. “Hackneyed” here means something lacking originality or freshness, or something dull on account of overuse. Much like this pastiche of Lemony Snicket, no doubt.

So many classic noir elements are here: a cynical detective (though nowhere near as melancholy as the Snicket we know in the magnificent A Series of Unfortunate Events – life hasn’t quite kicked all hope out of him yet, that misery is still to come); a seemingly simple case that turns out to be full of twists and turns; a brilliant femme fatale in Ellington Feint – “the girl with the curved eyebrows and the unreadable smile”, so appealing but so potentially untrustworthy.

Likewise, so many classic Snicket elements are here: the oblique literary references that beg to be deciphered (who else could get away with nods to Nabakov, Flaubert, and Pippi Longstocking in the same book? Particularly when that book is aimed at 8-12 year olds?); the wry humour; and the wisdom hidden behind apparently simple statements:

“Being curious is the most important part of being a journalist. It might be the most important part of being anything.”

Lemony Snicket (and his representative to the public, Daniel Handler) must be one of the most exciting and original authors, for children or adults, around at the moment. He demands his readers use their brains, and very subtly but irresistibly draws them into the wider literary world. This reader has her doubts that the big plot questions are going to be neatly answered by the end of the series, and we may never have a definitive picture of Lemony Snicket’s origins and the mysterious goings on of the VFD, but maybe those are the wrong questions. So what are the right questions? Well, Snicket/Handler certainly knows the right answer to ‘How do you write an unputdownable book?’




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