Cleverly written and amusing, and as always in Lemony Snicket stories, more questions than answers. Based on what I've read in other reviews of this book and others in the series, this is a prequel, or at least somehow related, to A Series of Unfortunate Events. If there were any hints to that effect in this book, I missed them. But if it's true, I certainly hope it clarifies some of the nonsense we were left with at the end of book 13 of that series. 3.5 stars.