"Within the chapters of this story, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire encounter a darkened staircase, a red herring, some friends in a dire situation, three mysterious initials, a liar with an evil scheme, a secret passageway, and parsley soda."

Book 6 of A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS by Lemony Snicket begins with the orphans being shepherded off to yet another guardian. In a house on Dark Avenue, the new caretakers of the Baudelaires live in a huge building in which they cannot ride the elevator because elevators are out of style and stairs are "in." Esmé and Jerome Squalor live in the penthouse, and they live and die by the fashions. Esmé is really the one who cares; Jerome just doesn't like to argue, and orphans are "in" so they're staying. They put up with pinstripe suits (which are "in") and other tragedies until they discover that Olaf is lurking somewhere, and has hidden their friends the Quagmires. Olaf is disguised as a foreign auction director and makes friends with Esmé, while the Baudelaires discover an ersatz elevator and climb down its shaft to release their friends and discover the secret of V.F.D. But this doesn't work out; before they can release their friends, Olaf changes their hiding place and puts them in an auction inside an item. Of course, when they see V.F.D. on the list of auctioned items, they beg Jerome to bid on it, and he does, but it is not the Quagmires; they are kidnapped yet again, and Olaf is not caught. The difference this time is that Esmé comes along for the ride, having been in on the plot! The Baudelaires' pursual of their friends continues in A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS book 7: The Vile Village.

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