"When Did You See Her Last?" by Lemony Snicket
Borrowed from the Camden County Library System
This is the second book in the All the Wrong Questions series. I didn't read the first book, but I think there were plenty of clues to what went on in it. This definitely had a 'Series of Unfortunate Events' feel. You have the vocabulary and the gloomy towns and the orphaned/abandoned children struggling to defeat, or at least avoid being defeated by a villian.
A young Lemony Snicket (as written by Daniel Handler) is living in a hotel in a small and dying town, Stain'd by the Sea, with his chaperone. He is her apprentice and their relationship is fraught at best. When they are called to investigate the case of a missing girl, Snicket tags along. When the chaperone determines that the case has been solved, she suggests that Snicket make himself scarce until that evening. He uses that time to find out what actually happened to the missing girl.
I always found the Series of Unfortunate Events books a little strange. They just seemed awfully mean. Those poor little Beaudelaire kids, why would anyone come up with such horrible things to do to little orphaned kids? Things just never looked up for them. Here, Handler puts Lemony Snicket in the heart of the action. Here, he's a kid who has his own mysterious background, with a villain and siblings he's been separated from, as well as life in a town on its last legs. He has it much better than the Beaudelaire kids.
I liked the relationships Snicket had with the other young people in the book and the way they worked together. Of course, to have that, he made the adults all be idiots or villains. That's a trope that never makes any sense to me.
I would have to say that I am really just meh about this book. I mostly enjoyed it, but I don't think I have that much interest in continuing on with the series.