File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents
By Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Seth
Little, Brown, 2014
File Under is #2.5 in the All The Wrong Questions series, coming between "When Did You See Her Last?" and (the currently unpublished) "Shouldn't You Be in School?". It does not appear to have any important part in the overarching plot, and can probably be read earlier or later without affecting your enjoyment of the series, although if you haven't read any of the other books this might be a mildly confusing place to start the series.
Young Lemony Snicket is still stuck in Stain'd-by-the-sea, and still nominally working on... whatever his big case is. You know, the statue/psychopath deal. Except that in this book he isn't. This is a series of snapshots of his time off in Stain'd-by-the-sea, weekends and mornings and late afternoons, whenever he can escape from his mentor. He does not, however, escape from mystery, and every time he wanders off he seems to find someone else who needs the help of an amateur detective.
This is a collection of thirteen short and simple mysteries. The stories are presented, and the solutions to the mysteries are carefully amputated, allowing the reader a chance to try to solve the puzzles themselves before reading the denouement. Which is to say, this is an Encyclopedia Brown rip-off. Quite frankly, it's not much better than Encyclopedia Brown as far as the mysteries go, but it does have the enormous benefit of being written in the voice of Lemony Snicket in one of his most amusing and confusing settings.
Overall, this is a nice book, but it doesn't have much in the way of plot, development, or even, really, surprise. It is a nice treat for Snicket fans, and a fun read -- and all the more fun, I imagine, if you are around ten to twelve years old. There are a number of oblique references to popular books, and explicit references to Finnish Poets (and the like), and as usual there are a number of very nice quotes. I recommend it if you liked the other books (or are an Encyclopedia Brown fan) and are looking for a fun quick read.
Accelerated Reader Level: 5.2