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->''"There was a town, and there was a girl, and there was a theft. I was living in the town, and I was hired to investigate the theft, and I thought the girl had nothing to do with it. I was almost thirteen and I was wrong. I was wrong about all of it. I should have asked the question 'Why would somebody say something was stolen when it was never theirs in the first place?' Instead, I asked the wrong question -- four wrong questions, more or less."''

''All The Wrong Questions'' is a four-part prequel series to ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''. It is written by Creator/DanielHandler, once again writing as Lemony Snicket. The series concerns him as a thirteen year-old boy, hinted to be working with VFD in a series of mysterious cases. The first book, ''"Who Could That Be at This Hour?"'' was released on October 23, 2012. The second book, "''When Did You See Her Last?"'' followed on October 15, 2013. A companion book, ''File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents'' -- a collection of short mystery stories -- was released April 1, 2014. The third book, ''"Shouldn't You Be in School?"'' was released on September 30, 2014. The final book, ''"Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?"'' was released on September 29th, 2015.
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!!This series provides examples of:

* AdorablyPrecociousChild: ''Every single kid''... [[TheBully except Stew Mitchum]].
* AdultsAreUseless: As in the previous series, almost every adult is either useless or evil. Discussed by all the children at one point or another.
--> [[spoiler:"Snicket," Moxie said quietly, "what are we going to do?"]]
--> [[spoiler: [[PlayedForDrama "Not what everyone’s parents did,"]] I said. "Not nothing."]]
* ArcWords: "That's the wrong question."
* ArtMajorBiology: The Clusterous Forest is made up entirely out of seaweed. Many are surprised that the algae learned to grow on land.
* BadBoss: Lemony is apprenticed to S. Theodora Markson, who yells for Lemony to do things her way but it becomes clear that he's the smarter. [[spoiler:Lemony confirms that he secretly arranged to have a terrible chaperone for his plan in the city.]]
* BatmanGambit: Lemony is ''good'' at these. He has an instinctual grasp of people and what they are going to do, especially when it comes to Ellington Feint, such as when he uses tiny clues in her dialogue and behaviour to work out that she has hidden the statue in Black Cat Coffee.
* BigBad: Hangfire, a mysterious man who wants the statue of the Bombinating Beast and is holding Ellington Feint's father for ransom.
* BlatantLies: [[SarcasmMode Yes, Theodora, you, a grown woman, and Lemony, a thirteen year-old, could totally pass for husband and wife]].
** Lemony and his associate in the city communicate by sending notes "disguised" as book orders to the library. The fake author and book title combinations tend to be things like Sorry, ''But I Can Not Meet You At The Fountain'' or Don T. Worry, ''I'll Measure It Myself'' (“Sounds like a math textbook of some kind”). Lemony claims the authors' names are weird because they're Belgian.
* BookEnds: The opening illustration is that of a young girl waiting in a train station [[spoiler:who is later revealed to be Kit Snicket]]. The last illustration is of her grumpily visiting the unfinished Fountain of Victorious Finance.
** Book Two continues this trend, with the opening illustration being the same girl trying to open a hatch (with the letters VFD on it, no less) and the end is [[spoiler: her getting arrested.]]
** As does Book Three, where [[spoiler: she is dragged to the police station and photographed]].
* BrickJoke: Upon hearing screaming, Lemony narrates how one can easily track down screaming by drawing nine rows of 14 squares in a piece of paper, then throwing it away and looking for the screamer because there's no time to waste. Later, when Lemony tries to keep Prosper Lost from following him, he tells him to track the sound of [[spoiler:Theodora]]'s screams by drawing nine rows of 14 squares.
* TheBully: Stew Mitchum, a bratty boy who blames all his misdeeds on Lemony and gets away with it because his parents are policemen.
* TheButlerDidIt: Subverted. He's the mastermind, but he's not really a butler and he didn't do it personally, as Lemony points out.
* CallForward: Being a prequel, the series continues several hints to later unfortunate events.
** The Fountain of Victorious Finance is being built.
** Hector from ''The Vile Village'' is met in the final chapter as a twelve year old, and is already performing ballooning projects. His liking of Mexican food is also mentioned.
** Hector reveals at the end that Lemony's associate in the city is [[spoiler:his sister Kit Snicket]].
** Dr. Montgomery Montgomery is mentioned.
** Lemony occasionally expresses fondness for root beer floats, just as he did in ''The Beatrice Letters''.
** And most significantly, the Great Unknown introduced in ''The Grim Grotto'' is hinted to be [[spoiler:the Bombinating Beast, a Cthulhu-esque creature that's legendary in the town.]]
** Captain Widdershins appears, mentions Gustav (Montgomery's deceased assistant at the start of ''The Reptile Room'') and, like Hector, delivers Lemony some news that he really, really would not rather have heard.
** Josephine Anwhistle is the associate who shows up at the end of the third book.
** Graffiti at the Wade Academy mentions Olaf--fitting, as it's a school for the sons of earls and counts. At the end of the last book it's confirmed that Olaf is a member of VFD at this point.
** We learn that Theodora's former apprentice was named Bertrand, as in Bertrand Baudelaire. Snicket even jokes that he'll end up married and have charming children.
** Beatrice is indirectly mentioned, though you'd have to know the companion stories quite well to recognize it (he talks of "a friend catching her first bat"). In the same paragraph, Snicket references an event he also vaguely alludes to in ''The Slippery Slope''--Jacques encountering a swarm of wasps. She is mentioned by name in the last book.
* ChekhovsGun:
** The Sallis butler is heard imitating the calls of birds as he feeds them. [[spoiler:As Hangfire, he uses this skill to mimic people's voices.]]
** Much of Hangfire's behavior involves animals or plants of some sort. [[spoiler: It's hardly surprising he turns out to be a naturalist]].
** Lemony reads in the newspaper about Dame Sally Murphy, the town's legendary actress. [[spoiler:She turns out to still be alive and having been pretending to be Mrs. Sallis.]]
** Every time Lemony as the narrator mentions he should have done something different in a scene, that's a good sign that at the moment something suspicious is going on.
* ChekhovsSkill: Inverted. Lemony failed his lockpicking exam [[spoiler:because he threw a rock through a window to get inside instead. He later does this again to drain the water that threatens to drown Sally Murphy.]]
* CityWithNoName: Sort of; the majority of the plot takes places at Stain'd-by-the-Sea, but the city that Lemony came from and often refers to is never named.
* CompressedHair: At one point Theodora somehow manages to get her huge mess of hair under a small helmet.
* ConflictBall: [[spoiler:Lemony abandons Moxie rather than let her track down Ellington and Hangfire with him.]]
* ConsolationBackfire: Theodora promises to try her best to find Cleo. Snicket notes that that is never a good thing to say, as it'll immediately cause people to expect you'll do the opposite, similar to the statement "I will try to not hit you with this shovel".
* CreepyChild: [[spoiler: Stew]], of all children, reveals himself to be this in the second book. He has a friend who's good with a knife...Graduates to full blown crazy in the last book, [[spoiler: where he kills Qwerty and frightens his parents into covering it up.]]
* {{Dissimile}}: It's Lemony Snicket narrating. There are ''dozens''.
* DisappearedDad:
** Ellington Feint's father, who has been kidnapped by Hangfire and held for ransom in exchange for the statue. [[spoiler: It's revealed in the final book that he is actually Hangfire himself, but this trope still seems to apply somewhat, as he has apparently all but abandoned Ellington for much of the series]].
** Pip and Squeak's dad is the local taxi driver, and the boys drive for him with the reasoning that he's sick. In the third book, they appear exhausted and very malnourished, suggesting that there's a lot more than that going on. [[spoiler: In the last book, Snicket implies that he abandoned them, or perhaps is dead]].
* {{Doting Parent}}s: The officers Mitchum, who fawn over their bratty son, unaware that he's the one doing all the local vandalism.
* DudeWheresMyReward: Rather than thank them for saving her life, Sally Murphy yells at Lemony and Moxie for asking about who tried to drown her.
* DyingTown: Stain'd-by-the-Sea, whose main export, ink, is running out. Already the town newspaper and telegraph have closed, and other businesses like the taxi and cafe have to make do on bartering instead of money.
* EldritchAbomination: The Bombinating Beast, a legendary undersea creature that was said to live by Stain'd-by-the-Sea.
* ExactWords: Lemony promised to help Ellington, and her father. [[spoiler: He views feeding him to the Bombinating Beast as doing just that]].
* TheFaceless: As per tradition Lemony's face is never seen, not even in the illustrations.
** Ditto for Hangfire.
* FreeRangeChildren: Lemony travels with false parents then does detective work on his own. Moxie's dad lounges on the couch while she writes for the town news in hopes of joining her mother in the city. Pip and Squeak's dad is sick so they drive the taxi.
* FourIsDeath: Has four installments, to go with [[Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents the main series']] {{thirteen|IsUnlucky}}. It doesn't have four chapters, however, but the usual thirteen.
* GambitPileup: Theodora wants to be promoted. Lemony wants to get back to the city. The other chaperone candidates want to kidnap him. Ellington wants to save her father. Mrs. Sallis wants the statue of the Bombinating Beast [[spoiler:and so does Hangfire]]. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And Moxie wants to become a reporter]].
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: In ''13 Suspicious Incidents'' -- ''"There are words for a woman who walks the streets late at night," she said, with another meaningful look. "Words like insomniac."'' ''Sure'', Snicket. That's ''exactly'' the word we were all thinking of.
* GreenEyedMonster: Moxie gets jealous whenever Snicket brings up Ellington Feint, though it's not clear if it's a BettyAndVeronica situation or if she just doesn't like Ellington because she distracts Snicket on what he needs to do.
* GreyandGreyMorality: In true Snicket fashion, the last book reveals that the series' morality to have been this. Stain'd-By-The-Sea might well have deserved their fate to dwindle and die, since in their desperate and selfish attempts to save themselves they destroyed another town and who knows how much of the environment. [[spoiler: And Snicket himself veers sharply towards the edge when he feeds Hangfire towards the Bombinating Beast, ''right in front of his daughter'']].
* HalfIdenticalTwins: In ''13 Suspicious Incidents'', the Cozy twins look alike enough to be mistaken for each other despite being different sexes.
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor: Ellington Feint. [[spoiler: Revealed in the end to have been firmly on the bad side all along, as her father is Hangfire]].
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Kit Snicket.
* HiddenDepths: Quite a few characters have these, both for good and bad. Snicket is surprised to learn that Hungry Hix, the bitter and bad-tempered owner of a diner, is quite a capable cook in her own right and once married a man from Calcutta. Similarly, the slimy Prosper Lost becomes far more endearing when he is anxious over his daughter's safety. And on the flip side, [[spoiler: it's chilling how Stew Mitchum quickly turns from the resident bully to the ally of the BigBad]].
* {{Homage}}: While the previous series was heavily inspired off of Gothic literature, this series is a tribute to noir detective fiction, including the plot of the first book resembling ''Literature/TheMalteseFalcon''.
* HouseHusband: Mr. Mallahan, while Mrs. Mallahan is off in the city working for their newspaper. [[spoiler: The last book implies that they divorced]].
* HypercompetentSidekick: Deconstructed. Lemony sets out to be this for Theodora, reasoning that it will give him more time and freedom to do his own thing than if he went with a better chaperone. This backfires badly, however, when Theodora proves unpredictable.
* IronicEcho: Lampshaded by Lemony when he tells his friends that even the bravest and most resourceful people in the world have come to bad ends. He tells the reader that yes, there's no need to flick the pages back, that ''is'' what Theodora said to him earlier.
* KidDetective: Young Lemony was one! So is a girl reporter he meets at the town, Moxie.
** When he's called this in the second book, he corrects the speaker. He is ''not'' a detective. His job is not to solve mysteries, it's to poke around and find information for his organization. He specifically calls himself a walking library stack.
* LemonyNarrator: Even as a boy, Lemony's style continues to be idiosyncratic.
* LiteralMinded: Pip and Squeak's taxi service can be paid in tips, like "you should really read ''Literature/TheWindInTheWillows''."
* MacGuffin: The statue of the Bombinating Beast, which Mrs. Sallis says was stolen from her by the Mallahans. [[spoiler:In reality, the statue was the Mallahans's for generations but they consider it to be worthless. Hangfire and the false Mrs. Sallis pretended it was stolen so he could acquire it.]]
* MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter: [[spoiler: Ellington]] is revealed to be this.
* MeaningfulName: Lampshaded by Lemony, when explaining that "hangfire" is actually a word which means, essentially, the delay before something really bad happens.
* MilesGloriosus: Theodora thinks she's a great teacher who is ranked twelfth on the list of best chaperones. She's actually ranked ''52nd''. Out of 52.
* MissingMom: Moxie's, but she's alive. She works for the newspaper in the city, and Moxie hopes to soon join her. [[spoiler: The last book confirms that Moxie's mother has essentially abandoned her and will never return, despite Moxie's beliefs]].
* MythologyGag: In the fourth book, Lemony makes a guess that he'll probably grow out of saying 'A word which here means-'.
* NiceHat: Moxie sports a bowler.
* NonIndicativeName: Stain'd-by-the-Sea is no longer by the sea, though it used to be.
* NotNowKiddo: Theodora refuses to listen to Lemony and insists on running things her own way, such as breaking the Mallahans's house to steal the statue, while Lemony tries to tell her that [[spoiler:''they already gave him the statue for free.'']]
* PaintingTheMedium: As always, Snicket does this superbly. An example is when, to prove just how irritating SesquipedalianLoquaciousness is, he fills up an ''entire page'' with the synonyms and colloquialisms for "irritating".
* ParentalAbandonment: Lemony's "parents" at the beginning of the book were just pretending to be his. He mentions several times that his real parents can't help.
** In the last book, it's confirmed that [[spoiler: Moxie's mother did abandon her]].
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Combined with LemonyNarrator. It's an understatement to say that it's weird.
* ThePromise: Lemony ''really'' needs to stop promising people things...
* PunnyName: The two brothers Pip and Squeak, who drive the town taxi while their father is sick.
* QuestioningTitle: Each of the books, named after a wrong question Lemony asked at some point in the story.
* RunningGag: "A word which here means" returns!
** S. Theodora refuses to tell anyone what the S in her name stands for. But all of her following statements begin with S, such as 'Standing next to me is my apprentice'.
* SceneryGorn: The town Lemony is brought to, Stain'd-by-the-Sea, is a former coastal town that literally ''had the surrounding ocean drained away'', leaving an enormous desert filled with sunken boats and mining machinery.
* ScoobyDooHoax: One of the mysteries in ''File Under 13 Suspicious Incidents''.
* ScrewThisImOutOfHere: [[spoiler:Lemony quits V.F.D. (although not permanently if the ''ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' proper is anything to go by)]] in ''Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights?''.
* SecretSecretKeeper: It's implied in the last book that Lemony realized a long time ago that [[spoiler: Ellington was Hangfire's daughter]].
* [[spoiler:SequelHook]]: [[spoiler:Lemony quits V.F.D. and sets out on his own with the statue to take care of some unfinished business.]]
* ShipTease: Between Ellington and Lemony, quite explicit in ''Shouldn't You Be In School?'' where Lemony admits that Ellington is probably the only reason he's still in Stain'd-By-The-Sea.
* ShoutOut: Once again, Lemony Snicket encourages kids to be quite well read, rarely saying what the books' titles are.
** While waiting for Mrs. Sallis, Lemony reads about [[Literature/JohnnyTremain a young silversmith who burned his hand and took an interest in local politics]].
** Lemony knew the meaning of the word "interlopers" ever since he read "a short story by [[{{Creator/Saki}} a British man with a funny name]]"
** Lemony tells Pip and Squeak to check out a book about [[Literature/DannyTheChampionOfTheWorld a champion of the world]]. They ask if it's by [[Creator/RoaldDahl the author with]] [[Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory all the chocolate]]. Later he tells them that ''The Long Secret'' is better than its prequel, though they prefer ''Nobody's Family is Going to Change''.
** Later he tries to sooth his nerves with a story about [[Literature/LittleHouseOnThePrairie a medium-sized family who made maple syrup, butter, and cheese]]. It didn't work.
** At the library he passes the time reading about [[Literature/HarrietTheSpy a true friend and good writer who lived on a bloodthirsty farm]].
** Ellington says her father once read her a book about [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings a bunch of elves and things who got into a war over a piece of jewelry that everyone liked but nobody could wear]]. Lemony thinks the wizard in it should have used his powers more.
** Lemony decides that ''The Analysis of Black, Brown, and Beige'' sounds like a really boring book, but Ellington disagrees, saying that that's the first book she would have picked up. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black,_Brown_and_Beige Black, Brown, and Beige]] is a jazz symphony by Duke Ellington.
* ShoutOutThemeNaming: As with ''The Series of Unfortunate Events'', many characters are named after authors and other famous people, especially those associated with FilmNoir and HardboiledDetective stories:
** Dashiell Qwerty is named after Creator/DashiellHammett, author of ''The Maltese Falcon'', and the QWERTY keyboard layout.
** At the end of the first installment, there is a mention of someone called {{Creator/Haruki|Murakami}}.
** The Mallahans are named after Creator/JamesMCain[[note]]that's what the "M" stands for[[/note]].
** Robert Mitchum, namesake of the Mitchums, was an actor famous as the star of many Noir films.
** Ellington Feint's namesake is Duke Ellington, composer and pianist. His music is probably the "interesting and complicated" tunes that Lemony hears from the gramophone.
* [[spoiler:SummoningArtifact]]: [[spoiler:The statue of the Bombinating Beast turns out to be this. You blow into it to summon the Bombinating Beast itself, which apparently does your bidding.]]
* ToBeLawfulOrGood: "Is it more beastly to be a murderer or to let one go free?" [[spoiler: Lemony chooses to feed Hangfire to the Bombinating Beast, and regards it as the only way to help him]].
* UndisclosedFunds: The Bombinating Beast statue is described as being worth "upwards of a great deal of money".
* VoiceChangeling: Hangfire. Many times he uses this ability of his to fool the heroes.
* WelcomeBackTraitor: Subverted. After Ellington betrays Lemony a couple of times, he's still friendly with her and tries to keep his promise, but he openly tells her that he doesn't trust her and that he fully expects her to betray him, an accusation that cuts her quite deeply.
* WhamLine: In one of his arguments with Lemony in ''When Did You See Her Last?'', [[TheBully Stew]] mentions having [[spoiler:a friend who's good with a knife.]] Considering [[spoiler:one of the villains of that book is repeatedly described the same way, this implies that there is more to Stew than meets the eye.]]
** ''Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights?'' gives us two. [[spoiler:Hangfire didn't really kidnap Ellington's father... he IS her father.]] Also, [[spoiler:Kit has been a prisoner on the train the entire book.]]
* WhiteDwarfStarlet: [[spoiler:Dame Sally Murphy is still living in the town, and was hired by Hangfire to play Mrs. Sallis.]]
* WildHair: Theodora's hair could give Creator/HelenaBonhamCarter's a run for her money. And Dashiell Qwerty is said to look like his hair was attacked by a scissors wielding madman.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness:
** [[spoiler:Hangfire does this to the fake Mrs. Sallis, though Lemony and Moxie save her. She strangely still seems to be loyal to him afterwards]].
** Lemony fears for a long time that this will be the fate of Ellington.
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