'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 23 November 2012

Review: Who Could That Be At This Hour? (All the Wrong Questions #1)

Are you curious about what is happening in a seaside town that is no longer by the sea?

Do you want to know more about a stolen item that wasn’t stolen at all?

Do you really think that’s any of your business? Why? What kind of person are you? Really?

With his trademark wit and intriguing narrative, Lemony Snicket (author of the hugely popular Series of Unfortunate Events) returns with an autobiographical account of his childhood, a series sure to enthral readers with a fondness for clever writing and word play.

The first book in the All The Wrong Questions series, Who Could That Be At This Hour follows 12-year-old Lemony Snicket as he takes on the role of apprentice to the volatile S. Theodora Markson. Working for a secret organisation, Lemony assists S. to locate a stolen item and return it to its rightful owner in the mysterious town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea.

It sounds simple enough, but is it really? Was the item really stolen? Why does it matter? Who can Lemony trust and why is he so intent on a task that is happening in another town instead of concentrating on the job at hand? Does S. Theordora Markson know what she’s doing and what does the S. stand for, anyway?

This is a mystery story with a twist (and a turn and a loop-de-loop). The writing is very clever and likely to appeal to a wide range of ages. The vocabulary is advanced (with the definitions cleverly included in the dialogue) and the story is constantly heading in unexpected directions.  The All The Wrong Questions series is likely to be enjoyed by younger readers looking for something challenging through to older readers (even as old as me!) who love books that are a little quirky and very clever.

This is the kind of story that readers who love words and language and solving problems and thinking about what they are reading (not just themes, but words and descriptions) will find fascinating. Like me, they will get to the final page and already be eagerly looking forward to the next book, wondering what wrong questions Lemony will ask next and where they will lead him.

Title: "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" (All The Wrong Questions #1)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Illustrator: Seth
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date: 23 October 2012
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781742972961
For ages: 8+ years
Type: Junior Fiction, Middle Fiction