Friday, October 27, 2006

28. Across Sussex With Belloc: In the Footsteps of The Four Men by Bob Copper

ISBN 0-7509-0603-0 - Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, 1994
"Hilaire Belloc's The Four Men, published in 1912, tells the story of Grizzlebeard, the Sailor, the Poet and Myself walking across the Sussex countryside from Robertsbridge to South Harting. Belloc himself made the jounery in 1902. He foresaw vast changes and was convinced that a day would come when Sussex would never more be what it was. Bob Copper has retraced his steps and here recounts the journey."
"Bob Copper was born in Sussex where he still lives...He is a folk-singer of repute and has recorded numerous English traditional songs and made many appearances on radio, television and in live performances."

27. The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey

ISBN 0 14 00.4560 0 - Peter Davies, 1953

A classic whodunit that will keep you guessing until the last chapter. Set in post World War II London, a man is murdered while standing in the queue at the theatre. Various suspects emerge and Inspector Grant goes undercover as a fishing enthusiast in Scotland in search of the truth.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

26. The End by Lemony Snicket

ISBN -13: 978-0-06-441016-8 - HarperCollins, 2006


If you read the Series of Unfortunate Events, like I have twice, you had many questions that you thought would be answered in The End. For the most part, they weren't. I will need to reread the Beatrice Letters & The Unauthorized Autobiography for some help.
What of the Quagmires? What of Captain Widdershins, Fiona and Fernald? What of the man with a beard and no hair and the woman with hair and no beard? Dewey Denouement? Ishmael and the islanders?
Did Bertrand and Beatrice Baudelaire assassinate Count Olaf's parents at the opera with blow darts? Who was J.S.? What is in the sugar bowl and were is it?
With the death of Count Olaf the evil doesn't stop. Too many of his associates are still at large.
The World is Quiet Here.

Friday, October 13, 2006

25. The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket

ISBN: 0064410153 - HarperCollins, 2005
Plot notes
- The water tower, seen in the picture before the first chapter and the picture after the last chapter, is also seen in the picture after the last chapter of Book the First, The Bad Beginning.
- It is suggested, towards the end of the book, that Dewey Denouement is the father of Kit Snicket's baby. It is unknown whether they were married, but it is established that he loved her. There are also several hints in the middle of the book supporting this.
- Justice Strauss's fate is unknown. She may have died, since she was left at the top of a burning building, but other characters have survived worse.
- Count Olaf's parents were killed by poison darts. It is hinted that the Baudelaires' parents may have been connected with the incident.
-The woman on the right of the cover has an eye like the V.F.D. insignia on the feather in her hat.
- Sunny's ability to speak has developed greatly since The Grim Grotto. In The Penultimate Peril, she says many complex sentences, such as "What else can we do?" and "The last safe place is safe no more."
- It was never revealed whether Mr. Poe was a volunteer or a villain.
- Esmé Squalor and Count Olaf break up.
- The first name of the Baudelaire's father is revealed as Bertrand.
- We still do not know what V.F.D. means, although Volunteer Fire Department remains the most likely option.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

24. The Grim Grotto By Lemony Snicket

ISBN 0 06 441014 5 - HarperCollins, 2004
When the schism occurred in the VFD, members alligned themselves on either the side of good (putting out fires) or evil (setting fires). In the Grim Grotto we see that things are not quite that simple.
"People aren't either wicked or noble," the hook-handed man [Fernald] said. "They're like chef's salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict." He turned to the two elder Buadelaires and pointed at them with his hooks. "Look at yourselves, Baudelaires. Do you really think we are so different?...The only difference between us is the portraits on our uniforms". pp 223

On Fernald's uniform is a portait of poet Edward Guest, who's work Snicket calls over sentimental and mundane.
"You ought to be true for the sake of the folks who think you are true.
You never should stoop to a deed that your folks think you would not do.
If you are false to yourself, be the blemish but small,
you have injured your folks; you have been false to them all. "
by Edward Guest

The Baudelaires have a portrait of Moby-Dick author Herman Melville on their uniforms.
Captain Widdershins' submarine takes it's name from a Moby-Dick character. Queequeg, a harpooner who hails from a fictional southsea island, can be alternately savage and civilized.

Monday, October 09, 2006

23. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket

ISBN 0 439 69837 5 - HarperCollins, 2003
With the release of Book the Thirteenth titled "The End" less than a week away, it is time to consider what will be revealed in the final chapter of the Series of Unfortunate Events.
It has been suggested that someone survived one of the VFD fires. The Baudelaires hope that it is one of their parents. Then they meet Quigley, the triplet believed to have perished when the Quagmire family home was razed. Is Quigley the one?
We know that Beatrice got a sugar bowl from Esme and that something of significant value is hidden in it but what? And who will find it first?
In The Slippery Slope, we first meet the man with a beard and no hair and the woman with hair and no beard who are so sinister that even Count Olaf cowers in their presence. Who are they?
I also wonder what caused the VFD schism.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

22. Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket

ISBN 0 439 55488 8 - HarperCollins, 2002
The Baudelaires go under cover as freaks in Madame Lulu's Caligari Carnival. Violet and Klaus become the two headed Beverly and Eliot. I wonder if this is derived from Beverly and Elliot Mantle the identical twin doctors in the book & film Dead Ringers.
"The Mantle brothers, Elliot and Beverly (both brilliantly played by Jeremy Irons) have a thriving private practice in which they play fertility gods, working virtual miracles in enabling previously infertile women to conceive. Cronenberg has chosen their names carefully: the second definition of "mantle" in The American Heritage Dictionary, "Anything that covers, envelops or conceals", suggests the deep tensions that exist underneath the brothers' competent facade. As their first names (and an old drawing in the title sequence) indicate, the two respectively embody the masculine and feminine sides of the human personality, with Elliot being a socially adept Casanova who does the public presentations and writes the scholarly articles, while his retiring brother Beverly grinds out the difficult research and deals with the personal anxieties of their most problematic patients. They enjoy an apparently satisfying symbiotic relationship, in which they share both professional and sexual triumphs, posing as each other when convenient."
I have not been able to determine the significance of the name Chabo the Wolf Baby that Sunny is disguised as.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

21. The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket

ISBN 0060288914 - HarperCollins, 2001
This is a pivotal book in the Series of Unfortunate Events. For starters, it begins exactly when and where the previous volume, The Vile Village, leaves off. The subsequent books do the same and you are left with a "cliff hanger" at the end of each one.
Count Olaf is heard but not seen as the voice of "Mattathias" over the hospital's intercom. He appears in the final scene but not in disguise. In previous books he takes great pains to obscure his distinguishing features - single eyebrow, shiny eyes, tattoo of an eye on his ankle. From here on, he no longer takes on false identities.
Mr. Poe does not appear in The Hostile Hospital and the Baudelaires have no official guardian.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

20. The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket

ISBN 0-439-38601-2 - HarperCollins, 2001

Building on the adage, "It takes a village to raise a child" the V.F.D. (Village of Fowl Devotees) adopt the Baudelaire orphans. Unfortunately, the villager's motivation is to have Violet, Klaus and Sunny do the village's chores while under the guidance of Hector the handyman.
We are introduced to Jacques Snicket, the author's brother, who swiftly meets his demise.
The good news is that Duncan & Isadora Quigley are rescued and whisked away to safety - we hope.
Sunny takes her first few steps in the closing scene of this Book the Seventh as the children cross the desolate plains to their next adventure.

Monday, October 02, 2006

19. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket

In this Book the Sixth, the Baudelaire children move to 667 Dark avenue with guardians Esmé and Jerome Squalor. "Esmé's name is derived from the title of one of J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories, "For Esmé with Love and Squalor," and her husband takes his name from Salinger's full first name."
The good news is that Ducan & Isadora Quigley are alive and well. The bad news is that Count Olaf moves them before the Baudelaires can help them escape.