Monday, December 16, 2013

The Ersatz Elevator

2001, first edition, from HarperCollins
Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Brett Helquist
A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Sixth: The Ersatz Elevator
Original price $10.99, purchase price $4.00
Hardcover in good condition

Another slip in quality, although this does introduce Olaf's married girlfriend Esme Squalor.  Yes, adultery in a children's book, but that wasn't really the problem I had with it.  I just felt like here, almost mid-series, things aren't that fresh or funny anymore.  With the first two books, I was constantly caught off guard by Snicket's turns of phrase.  Also, the two (yes, two) Quagmire triplets show up (after their introduction in the previous book) only to drop hints and then get re-kidnapped.  Still, there's enough cleverness and wordplay (Esme's name is a Salinger reference), as well as absurdity, including Sunny climbing down an elevator using her teeth, to keep things interesting.  No real memorable illustrations this time, although I like the design of the "In Boutique" bags.

ETA: Having since acquired and reread The Austere Academy, the fifth book, I have to say that the real slip began there, as it would also have earned a B-.

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