Listened: Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket, 2012, Overdrive.com download.
Kid Noir. Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler for 11-year-olds. Not necessary to read A Series of Unfortunate Events.
13-year-old Snicket escapes his current chaperones and joins the organization. I assume the organization is VFD no one ever says the group's name. He is assigned as a trainee with the 52nd best agent, S. Theodora Markson. They head to Stain'd-by-the-Sea to work a case assigned to Theodora. Theodora refuses to say what the "S" stands for.
Stain'd-by-the-Sea is a dying town. It's covers the bottom of a drained sea and it's main industry is running down. That industry is using massive syringes that are poked into watery pits where the syringes are used to suck out octopus ink. Their client lives in mansion on the edge of town and claims a neighbor stole a rare and valuable statue from her home.
Snicket endures Theodora's stupidity and meets the client's neighbors. One of the neighbor's is a girl Snicket's age who intends to be a journalist. She shows Snicket the statue. The statue is in dust covered storage along with other local artifacts and has obviously been there for some time, it was not in the neighbor's library where the client said it was.
Snicket and Theodora run into the local cops. Snicket and Theodora stay in the town's only hotel. Snicket sees suspicious characters. Snicket follows Theodora's instructions to burgle the neighbor and steal the statue back. Snicket avoids the cops and meets another girl.
The new girl says she is looking for her kidnapped father. The new girl steals the statue from Snicket. Snicket is on the clock to recover the statue. Snicket has to handle Theodora. Snicket worries for his sister in the big city. Snicket wonders why the 2nd girl conned him. Snicket wants to know who the client really is. Snicket has to keep out form under from the suspicious and brainless police duo.
I liked this. The MacGuffin is not so important. Snicket is trying to work around Theodora, trying to catch people spying on them, trying to resist his romantic impulses towards New Girl and her conning ways.
1. Double crosses.
2. Femme fatales.
3. Mysterious bad guy pulling the strings.
4. Snicket is lost and not sure what to do. Everything is staring him in the face but he cannot see it until it is too late.
5. The client is a fraud and liar.