This is the first book in a series of 13 wickedly funny novels for children which follow the turbulent lives of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents die in a suspicious fire. The children are placed in the custody of their Uncle, Count Olaf, who attempts to steal their inheritance. In the first book, he tries to marry Violet, despite her young age, by pretending it’s the storyline for his latest play. The plan falls through when Violet uses her left hand to sign the marriage document. In subsequent books, Olaf tries many ways to steal their fortune, committing a slew of crimes along the way. The children routinely try to get help from the adults around them who remain oblivious to danger. These books are short, and the setting interesting in a Victorian-sort of way, but it is the humorous writing style of the author that truly sets them apart.