Once again we join Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, otherwise known as the Baudelaire orphans and heirs to the Baudelaire fortune. But this book is a little different from the other three, at least 2 of the 3. In 2 of the last 3 books the orphans started out with some family member (usually very distant family) and a nice home, somewhat. Well in this book the orphans are dropped off at a train station at Paltryville and told to find their new caretaker, the owner of Lucky Smells Lumber Mill. Upon arrival at said mill they are told they will work at the mill (even though they are only children) and in return their new caretaker, Sir, will not allow Count Olaf to get to them.
Their new custodian, Sir, by the way, is called Sir because "No one could pronounce the name anyway." Also his head is in a constant haze of cigar smoke so you never see his face. He pays his employees in coupons, such as buy one snow shovel get one free and is constantly reminding everyone (including his partner) that he is "The Boss" because that's what the plaque says on his desk.
This book to me seemed to be difficult to get through, and I think that is due to the fact that we don't hear from Count Olaf or his minions until 3/4 of the way through the book. At least we don't think we hear from him. But as any Lemony Snicket reader will know, he is lurking in the background.
The continued sarcasm and wit of the Author, Lemony Snicket, is even more prevalent in this book. Especially once the orphans find out where Count Olaf is hiding. At this point it becomes a serious page turner with some wonderful comic relief. Once again, though, there is no happy ending just a continued, and maybe even more so, series of unfortunate events.