File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket

18295854259 pages
Published April 1, 2014
Source: Borrowed from Library

Synopsis: Match wits with Lemony Snicket to solve thirteen mini-mysteries.
Paintings have been falling off of walls, a loud and loyal dog has gone missing, a specter has been seen walking the pier at midnight — strange things are happening all over the town of Stain’d-By-The-Sea. Called upon to investigate thirteen suspicious incidents, young Lemony Snicket collects clues, questions witnesses, and cracks every case. Join the investigation and tackle the mysteries alongside Snicket, then turn to the back of the book to see the solution revealed.

A delicious read that welcomes readers into Lemony Snicket’s world of deep mystery, mysterious depth, deductive reasoning, and reasonable deductions.

Review: A few years ago, I tried to read the first book of the series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was in somewhat of a bad place at that time in my life, and I found the book really depressing and gave up after a few hours. I don’t know what it was about the book, but I could see that something bad was happening to the children, but they couldn’t see it and I couldn’t stomach it for whatever reason. Anyway, I was looking up books recently and came across this new series by Lemony Snicket and this book in particular intrigued me. I remember reading similar books as a child (meant for adults, though) with short mysteries with the solution at the end. I liked the idea of this being updated and for children, so I thought I would give Lemony Snicket another chance.

I was pretty disappointed, though. I think the book, though a children’s book, is written in such a way that I don’t think children would be interested in it. It seems like a book an adult would write who doesn’t really understand what interests children and it seems more like a book an adult nostalgic for childhood would want to read. It uses very flowery language, plus many words that might be above children and then has the gall to explain what they mean. While I think adding some unfamiliar words that help children t0 improve their vocabulary, the way this book goes about it feels really condescending. There are also lots of cutesy, twee names that annoyed me. I can’t think of any examples, but I was frustrated by the writing. Which I felt was trying to hard to be funny and clever.

As for the mysteries, maybe I am just an idiot, but I didn’t understand some of the solutions. About half of the mysteries didn’t make sense to me. I’m not sure if this was just me, though! Some of them, I did have to go back and quickly scan the story again to try to see where the clues were. But some of them I just flat out didn’t understand.

Finally, the one good thing that I liked about the book were the illustrations. I wish more had been included, because I thought they were very well done and went with the overall mood of the book. Overall, I was generally disappointed by this book and will be steering clear of Lemony Snicket from now on.


The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

Published May 10, 2011 by Knopf Publishing Group

Source: Library

This book is part of the Harry Hole series by Nesbø, who is a mystery writer in Norway. The series follows Harry Hole, a detective, as he solves cases. I had heard about the book before and my mind also associated it with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, another famous mystery to come out of Scandinavia. I’m not usually a mystery reader, but I was intrigued by the plot of this book, a serial killer in Norway who leaves behind a snowman at the scene, but unfortunately, I was not able to finish the book.

I found the book difficult to follow and very confusing. I couldn’t keep the characters straight, except for Hole and had to keep flipping back and forth (or in my case, doing a search on my e-reader) to figure out who the characters were and what had already happened. I also thought the writing was not good. I’m not sure if this is because it is just a badly written book or whether it’s because the book was translated from Norwegian to English and something was “lost in translation.” I had the same problem with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, where the writing left something to be desired, but I was able to finish that book. This book, despite the intriguing plot and the fact that I really, really wanted to know who the serial killer was, well, I had to tell myself to put it down, because I was not enjoying reading the book. Too bad, because although I said I’m not a big mystery reader, I do like to read mysteries every now and then.