Shouldn’t in a fictional seaside town named Stain’d-by-the-Sea,

Shouldn’t You Be in School is a riveting and suspenseful mystery novel written by Daniel Handler under the pen name Lemony Snicket. It is part 3 of the 4 book series ” All the Wrong Questions” series.

This story takes place in a fictional seaside town named Stain’d-by-the-Sea, which is no longer by the sea. Stain’d-by-the-Sea was drained so that they would be able to drill for their famous octopi ink. The main character, Lemony Snicket is a 12 year old apprentice working for a secret organization called the V.F.D. He is hired to solve a case about an of arson that had recently occurred. With the aid of his chaperone, Theodora S. Markson, he sets out to solve the mystery.

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Theodora was ranked last out of the 52 V.F.D. chaperones.She is the least successful chaperone available to be apprenticed to. She has a very mysterious background and and won’t reveal what the “S” in her name stands for.      The story starts off with Lemony reading a book on a hot morning in the Stain’d Library.

Sharon Haines, an employee of the Department of Education informs Snicket about a fire at a barn and later befriends his chaperone,Theodora. There was a witness to the arson, but when they go to visit his house, they discover it has also been burned down. The police later arrest Dashiell Qwerty, the town’s librarian, for allegedly being the arsonist.

But Lemony has a hard time believing that Dashiell was the the culprit. It is revealed that Theodora and Sharon informed the Mitchum officers, the only 2 cops the city has to offer, that Dashiell was guilty. To add to all of this confusion, yet another arson occurs. Stain’d Secondary School is burned down, and all the schoolchildren are moved to a school called Wade Academy. Two people from the Department of  Truancy come to take Lemony’s friends to the new school, but they don’t take Snicket himself. Lemony soon comes to the realization that the two people were Sharon and Hangfire (Hangfire is the main villain in this series and is responsible for most of the most of the crimes that occur throughout the books). When Lemony returns to the Lost Arms, the hotel he is staying at, he finds Theodora beaten.

She tells him that Sharon attacked her. Lemony decides to go to the school and investigate, but is knocked unconscious. One of his friends wakes him up and brings him to the library to regroup with their other friends. Keller Haines, Sharon’s son, reveals that his mother helped Hangfire with the arsons in order to save his older sister, Lizzie, who had been kinapped. A few days later, Hangfire, the villain behind the arsons, attempts to mislead Snicket into thinking Dicey’s Department Store is being burned down, but he figures out that he is planning on burning down the library.

He removes the books before Hangfire can burn it down, but the building ends up being saved by its new sprinkler system. Lemony and one of his friends, Ellington are confronted at the library, which leads to Ellington being arrested for the destruction of property. The story ends off with Snicket getting informed about how his sister was also arrested for breaking and entering.        I would say that there are two themes in this book. The first theme tells you to be careful about who you trust.

In the book, Sharon Haines comes out of nowhere and befriends Theodora. She pretended to help her solve the case, but she ended up tricking her into imprisoning the wrong person, and then attacking her.  Lemony always had his doubts about Sharon, but Theodora would never listen. On page 59, when Lemony tries to warn her, she said, “Don’t simper nonsense at me, Snicket.

I am not a baby. The other theme I would say is shown in the book is that you should fight against injustice. The first example of this in the book is in chapter 4 where Dashiell Qwerty was arrested with no logical reason.

Of course Snicket knew he was innocent and stood up for him. When he heard that he was being arrested, he said, “You can’t be serious? Dashiell Qwerty is a fine librarian.” Another example of the characters in the book standing up for injustice in the book was in chapter 6 where Sharon went undercover and tried to kidnap Lemony’s friends. She tried to make them think that they were truant. Moxie didn’t take this too well and started arguing about how they weren’t. Unfortunately, Sharon had the upper hand because she smashed Moxie’s typewriter, and that left her so distraught, she could barely even talk.      All in all, Shouldn’t You Be in School is actually a pretty good book.

One part from the I liked was in Chapter 6 when Sharon Haines kidnapped Lemony’s friends. But a part in the that I didn’t like was on the very first page of the book. It was a picture of Kit Snicket taking a mug shot. When I saw it, I knew recognised the girl as Kit Snicket because she had been mentioned in the previous books before. So when the book came to an end and we were told that Kit was arrested, it did come as much of a surprise. I’m happy I chose this book because it taught me lessons about how you can’t trust everyone you meet and how you should fight against injustice.

I would recommend this book to anyone who like mystery books and cliff-hangers.      


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