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'Who Could That Be at This Hour?': Lemony Snicket's new book discusses his childhood

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(Read caption) 'Who Could That Be at This Hour?' is the first in a planned quartet of books by Lemony Snicket.

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Who is mysterious children’s author Lemony Snicket?

Well, we’re not sure, but we were able to reach Snicket’s representative, writer Daniel Handler, so that’s something.

Snicket’s new book, “Who Could That Be at This Hour?,” is the first in a planned quartet, titled “All the Wrong Questions.” It will tell the story of Snicket’s childhood and his involvement with a mysterious organization that played an important role in the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books.

Snicket is the narrator of the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books, telling the tale of the three Baudelaire children – orphans, whose parents die in a mysterious fire at the start of the books and who are then shuttled from guardian to guardian as the children try to learn more about the truth behind the conflagration – even as he frequently hints to readers at his own involvement in the story and warns them to put the book down before even more sad events occur.

(Also, Snicket is actually Handler’s pen name, but go with us on this one.)

In the new book, “Who Could That Be at This Hour?,” a young Snicket comes under the apprenticeship of a woman named Theodora and tries to solve a mystery centering on the (possible) theft of a statue called the Bombinating Beast in a town known as Stain’d-by-the-Sea.

Handler says reassuringly that Snicket had written the book “definitely of his own free will.”

“It was written before the ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ books and is only being released now, now that it is safe to do so,” he says.

Snicket joins a strange organization in the book which goes unnamed but which “Series of Unfortunate Event” readers might guess is VFD, a group sometimes known as the Volunteer Fire Brigade to which the Baudelaires’ parents belonged. Handler is coy on the question of whether the groups are one and the same.

“It's safe for you, personally, to assume that,” he says (although he also points out that he will not be around if I later discover that my assumption is wrong).

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