The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket

28 Feb


The end is near. Followers of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” know that the thirteenth, and last, book of the series, titled “The End”, is out on the thirteenth day of the tenth month on the fifth day of the week. A confusing phrase which here means: Friday, October 13th, 2006.

Lovers of the series have devoured each book and Lemony Snicket, the series’ elusive author, has earned himself quite a following. A phrase which here means a LOT of happy readers who like to devour every word the author writes in hopes of solving a complicated mystery.

Why they would amuse themselves with the trivialities and misfortune that befalls the Baudelaire Orphans is beyond me. Horrible things happen to these lucky children: Their house burns down, they lose their parents, they get taken in by a nefarious criminal, Count Olaf, who tries to take their massive fortune.

And that’s just the beginning of their woes. But Lemony Snicket, chronicler of the lives of the Baudelaire Orphans, has also earned himself an air of mystery. Here which means a confusing situation that may or may not be solved with the help of bloodhounds on a cloudy day.

Little is known about the elusive author and littler still of his great love: Beatrice. Each of the twelve books has been dedicated to her in some way. “The Penultimate Peril,” Book the Twelfth in “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” is dedicated to her thusly:

For Beatrice-
No one could extinguish my love,
or your house.

Thus we come to: “The Beatrice Letters.” Here we have a File Box of information. A phrase, which here means a book that opens to two file folders, holding a double-sided poster with clues and the letters themselves, carefully bound in tape. There are letters to Beatrice from Lemony and to Lemony from Beatrice. All through out them, codes abound.

Cryptograms appear galore; sprinkled through out a collection of business cards, file photographs, telegrams, poems and letters written on scraps of paper, we learn of a love affair between Snicket and Beatrice, who claims to be a fourth Baudelaire sibling. A love blooms between them in their search for Violet, Klaus and Sunny. And mayhap we learn a few secrets along the way.

But these are not just your normal letters. In fact there are Letters encased in amongst the letters, which is to say there are punch out Letters with which you can make many names.
Snicket says of these punch out Letters at the end of the letters:

“For many years I thought if I collected all these letters and their accompanying ephemera—a phrase which here means “documents and items which I feared had vanished, and may soon vanish again”—I could put all of them in the proper order, as if solving an anagram by putting all of the letters in the right order. But letters are not letters, so the arrangement of letters is not as simple as the arrangement of letters, and even if it were, the arrangement of these letters could spell out more than one thing…”

The only problem with the Letters is that I do not want to punch them out of the page, thereby ruining the book. I can only write them down in my commonplace book, in hopes of solving their anagram secret. There are many secrets encased “The Beatrice Letters”, which is suspiciously linked to Book the Thirteenth; but this author can’t figure them out.

I’ve read through “The Beatrice Letters” twice now and am unable to decipher anything but a few obvious clues. As to how “The Beatrice Letters” is linked to Book the Thirteenth, perhaps we finally find out the identity of the elusive Lemony Snicket? I’m going to have to rifle through “The Beatrice Letters” many more times before its secrets become clear.

Though I am loath to admit it—a phrase here, which means with great reluctance, unwilling or disinclined—I was disappointed when I first picked up “The Beatrice Letters.” I was expecting a book, similar to “The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket” whose pages I could scour for clues. What I wasn’t expecting was a file of letters and a large poster.

After going over “The Beatrice Letters,” though, it’s become clear to me what Lemony Snicket has given us. With only just over a month until the last and final book in the series, Lemony Snicket has given us a challenge, a game. Our challenge is to try and find the shocking secrets about Book the Thirteenth. Indeed, “The Beatrice Letters” are quite brilliant. Instead of another book to add to the series, Snicket has given us something all together different; something we can sink our teeth—and brains—into until the last book finally hits stores.

I for one will be waiting with anticipatory glee—a phrase here which means great eagerness—until then. I’ll have to read “The Beatrice Letters” again, commonplace book beside me open to a fresh page, to see if I can find the secrets out, before it’s too late.


3 Responses to “The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket”

  1. Puzzled December 31, 2007 at 5:04 pm #

    Have you figured out any of the cryptograms yet?

    • alice November 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

      invisible ink

  2. Puzzled December 31, 2007 at 5:32 pm #

    I am having the hardest time trying to decode this entire book. The farthest I have gotten is decoding the anagrams, such as “Beatrice Sank” and much more. I know that there is sooo many codes and puzzles hidden in this book, but I just cannot figure them out. Can you?

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