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Series of Unfortunate Events #12: The Penultimate Peril
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10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Daniel Handler

Q: Your Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) entry defines you as author, screenwriter, and accordionist. Is that how you would describe yourself?
A: I find that nothing makes people back away faster at a social gathering than "accordionist." Except perhaps "screenwriter." And, even "author" always makes people nervous, so I usually say "writer."

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: All my life really, since I was able to write all I wanted to do was write. I think largely I ended up becoming a writer because I could think of nothing else that I was good at--at all. As a kid, I always wanted to be a writer, and I had no backup plan whatsoever as an adult.

Q: Are the Baudelaire children ever going to be happy?
A: Well, they are happy on a regular basis, just not for very long. Um, are they ever going to be happy permanently? I don't know any permanently happy people, thank goodness.

Q: Okay, then is the series going to end on a happy note?
A: Well, I always remind readers of the Snicket books that happy is a comparative term, so the end will be happier than some people would think, but less happy than others.

Q: When can fans expect the final book?
A: I believe the thirteenth volume will be released in the fall of 2006, although something terrible could happen to the author at any moment and then the books would not be released at all.

Looking for more from Daniel Handler? Check out his answers to's The Significant Seven. Exclusive: The Horrendous Heap

Experience Snicket in the worst way possible: from the very beginning. Here are twelve books contained in four boxes in one terrible shipment. The Horrendous Heap also contains four unfortunate gifts, more upsetting than an itchy sweater in an unflattering color, including:

*A full-color print of one of Brett Helquist's most worrying illustrations, suitable for framing or burying in the backyard.
*A door-hanger, designed to keep unfortunate events out of any room with a door.
*A full page of black-and-white stickers, fit for sticking wherever unfortunate events arise.
*An iron-on, which can render any piece of clothing a part of the uniform of a secret organization.

Please be warned. This offering is a great deal of misfortune. Lemony Snicket advises against the reading, framing, hanging, sticking, or wearing of unfortunate events. In fact, you might be better off ordering a less horrendous heap, if you prefer that sort of thing.

Make Your Own Misfortune Teller

Fans of the Lemony Snicket books can download and fold their own Misfortune Teller, by following these simple instructions. Once the Misfortune Teller is complete, all that is necesary is a willing victim, er, subject, and let the games begin!

An Interview with Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket has captured the hearts of childen and adults alike with the hilariously gloomy series that began, of course, with The Bad Beginning. had a chance to question the author of this marvelously morbid and delightfully depressing series, and the communication was grim indeed. Read the cumbersome communique and see for yourself.

Lemony Snicket returns with the last book before the last book of his bestselling Series of Unfortunate Events. Scream and run away before the secrets of the series are revealed!

Very little is known about Lemony Snicket and A Series of Unfortunate Events. What we do know is contained in the following brief list:

o The books have inexplicably sold millions and millions of copies worldwide

o People in more than 40 countries are consumed by consuming Snicket

o The movie was as sad as the books, if not more so

o Like unrefrigerated butter and fungus, the popularity of these books keeps spreading

Even less is known about book the twelfth in this alarming phenomenon. What we do know is contained in the following brief list:

o In this book, things only get worse

o Count Olaf is still evil

o The Baudelaire orphans do not win a contest

o The title begins with the word, 'The'

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Ages 10+

Customer Reviews:

  • Children's Adventure Book
    The Penultimate Peril is a great and adventurous book. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to pretend to be one of the characters and be a part of the story. The three kids go through a lot of challenges. They have to be fake hotel servants and make sure that their care taker doesn't' treat them like servants. Violet is the oldest one in the group who has to look out for the other two to make sure that they don't get into any trouble or get lost. The children also don't like the person who is taking care of them. I think people should buy this book and including the rest of The Series of Unfortunate events. I loved reading this awesome book as a review. ...more info
  • Best next to last book ever!!!
    You've just gotta read it. They do save the best for last. Well, next to last. I read it all night as soon as I bought it because I could't put it down. This book contains most of the answers the Baudelaire orphans have been searching for. It will absolutely give you shivers when Count Olaf shares his fiendish plan. Will Violet, Klause, and Sunny escape from Count Olaf's clutches? Read on and find out. And brace yourself. The twist at the end of the book was more than I could take. A Great read. Another book I enjoyed recently was the scifi adventure "GAAK" by Darryl Hughes. Four "Goonies" like misfit kids defend their small town and the world from invasion by kooky aliens from outer space. It's like Spielberg's best....more info
  • Twists are coming together
    Ah, now nice! Our favorite little orphans-of-tragedy get to hang out with some rich relatives in a snobby apartment building! Snicket introduces a nice new landscape, more mystery, and some developments that are very nice shockers. Not the best of the series, but nice-enough pacing and a [not-so]-pleasant story to keep up the action and plot. ...more info
  • The Lucky 13 !
    The name of the next book is the Lucky 13, or perhaps, the un-lucky 13.

    In the final book Count Olaf goes crazy and guns down 13 of his closest neighbors and relatives. He then goes to trial and bribes Judge Earnest, or was it Julio Gallo ? Just when you think Count Olaf is going down; Orson Welles rushes into the courtroom ala Perry Mason and says "Your Honor, we will sell no wine before its time".

    Count Olaf is aquited of course and the final scene has Oprah on Tom Cruise's couch confessing to a psychyatrist about Tom Clancy molesting her daughter.

    This will probably not be the last book, as several government agencies are still gambling for the Messiah's clothes....(Drat)!

    ...more info
  • Perplexing Perils Pursue Plucky Baudelaire Children
    This book is the twelfth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. This book follows "The Grim Grotto" and precedes "The End."

    We began in story where "The Grim Grotto" left off. The Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, on her way out of babyhood, have jumped into a taxi driven by none other than Kit Snicket, who is taking the children to an unknown destination. The unknown destination turns out to be the Hotel Denouement.

    The children's visit to the Hotel Denouement turns out to be a reunion of sorts. The children move through the hotel disguised as concierges and as they move through the hotel they meet many people that they have previously encountered in the first eleven books in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Many of the people they meet are good people and volunteers. They also meet many evil people. The children also meet some people who may be evil, or they may be good. Trying to decide whether certain individuals are good or bad could cause the children a Very Fine Distress.

    We learn that Hotel Denouement is the last safe place on earth, and volunteers are arriving from all over. Once the volunteers have arrived, certain foul criminals will be tried for their crimes! Or will they? There are lots and lots of plots and the criminals are one step ahead of the good guys, as can happen in the world. As can also happen in the real world, the Baudelaire orphans are involved in the murder of a man by accident. The situation gets hotter for everyone in the hotel as the Baudelaire orphans go on trial, everyone is blinded by their stupidity, a Venomous Fungal Disease is an impending doom, and we wonder how this series can possibly end with the next book.

    This book is one of the best in the series. This book does a fine job of preparing for the final book in the series. Lemony Snicket answers some questions, but many more questions remain. I await the final book with anxiety and excitement. I wonder how Snicket can end this series in a way that will satisfy his faithful readers.

    ...more info
  • Not the Best of Them
    Well, it seems that Mr. Snicket is now scraping the bottom of the creative barrel as these books come to an end. I found that there was a lot of repetition in the book (I am not talking about repeating what happened in the other books). It wasn't as exciting a read as the others have been and maybe that is because Mr. Snicket is saving the best for last. At least let's hope so. I do love his story telling style....more info
  • good, I am nick fernandez
    I recommend this book because it has action, mystery, and the best part is someone very special dies. In this book the Baudilaire kids start to work at the Denmenount Hotel. In the hotel everyone they have ever faced. Even Count Olaf but he has another evil sceme. To find out the end read this book....more info
  • Amazing Book
    This book by Lemony Snicket is one of the best books that he has written in this series, in my opinion. It has a good plot to it, it's not confusing or boring, and it's not very hard to read either.

    The plot is that three children are running from Count Olaf and end up getting a job at this hotel only to find out that he is staying at this hotel with a bunch of his friends. The kids have to get a disguise and work there without being caught.

    I give this book five stars because it is just an awesome book for anyone who likes to read this series. This book is definitely in the top three books in this series....more info
  • The 12th book
    I think that The Penultimate Peril is the second best book in the series of Unforunate Events. The best would probly have to be The Reptile Room. But i liked this book very much because it was fun to read just like all of them but one reason i did not like the book was that count olaf finaly won.I would recommend this book to anyone that has read the other unfortunate event books because it is very good....more info
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book 12
    In the twelfth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket the Baudelaires' journey continues on a downward spiral. As the Baudelaires look for the Sugar Bowl they disguise themselves as concierges at the hotel the Sugar Bowl is located. In their search the Baudelaires see some old and new faces. Also some are good and some are bad faces. Klaus, Sunny, and Violet are trapped by Count Olaf again and must make important decisions. I would recommend this children's book if you enjoyed the first eleven books of the series. As the Baudelaires are close to the end of their journey there are still many questions still left to be answered....more info
    This book was purchased, along with Books 11 and 13 in this series, for my nine-year-old granddaughter. She hasn't read it yet, but has read other books in this series and enjoys them very much.

    the books was orderd two weeks prior to Christmas as a Christmas present and arrived in time to give her at Christmas and in very good condition....more info
  • The suspects are assembled . . .
    The suspects are here assembled, as the participants, precipitators, witnesses, and victims of the unfortunate events described in the past 11 books gather . . . . But justice is miscarried in the penultimate event, and the Baudelaire children ponder their guilt or innocence, nobility or villainy.

    Followed by: The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 13)...more info
  • Cornwall New York Sixth Grader
    I am a Cornwall New York Sixth Grader and the book I am writing a review on is the Series of An Unfortunate Event book #12 The Penultimate Peril. I found this book to be a fast read. It was very suspenseful and heart stopping. The book starts out when the siblings Klaus, Sunny, and Violet Baudelaire meet up with a mysterious looking woman named Kit Snicket. Kit then drives them to a hotel called Hotel Denouement where many crazy and treacherous things happen. If you would like to know exactly what type of things happen next you have to read the book to find out.
    If you like sad, miserable and action packed books this is the book for you. Out of the other entire series of books that Lemony Snicket wrote and published, I think this one is the best so far. If I had to rate this book 1-10 I would without doubt, rate it a ten. I would rate it a ten because I really like the plot and theme of the book. I also really like the way the author organizes the events in the books. One more reason I would give this book a ten is because at the end of the book it makes you want to read the next book right then and there. In conclusion, I thought this book was very good so if this review sounds interesting, then you should read the book "Series of An Unfortunate Event book #12 The Penultimate Peril.
    ...more info
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Penultimate Peril
    The Penultimate Peril
    By: Lemony Snicket
    Reviewed by: E. Machado
    Period: P.3

    This is one of my favorite books of all time. The book begins with the Baudelaire orphans in a cab going to a hotel trying to find the volunteers. They become bell boys and bell girls. They answer phone calls and give assistance if needed. There job was to spy on all the guests to spot out the evil people in the hotel. At the end, there biggest ally dies because of a harpoon gun that was accidentally shot. The orphans then go to court but surprisingly escapes with there worst enemy, Count Olaf. They knew they had to find there parents and if they went to jail, they wouldn't be able to. So they finally decided to get away with Count Olaf.

    I really liked this book for two obvious reasons. My first one is because of all the action and suspense. In this book someone dies, gets stuck in an elevator, and there is a notorious villain. You never know what is going to happen. One of the scariest parts was when Olaf was about to harpoon Dewy when the kids said you will have to harpoon us first? I just couldn't stop reading. I couldn't figure out what was going to happen until it happened. The suspense was overwhelming but I loved it.

    My second reason is all of the different events going on at the same time. The book even said at one part, you may read the next three chapters in any order you choose because they all take place at the same time. While I was reading what was going on with one kid I was wondering what was going on with another. This is the only book I know that you are able to do this and it is awesome.

    My favorite part was right before Dewy got hit by the harpoon gun. I had so many thoughts going through my head. I thought, Dewy cant get shot. Can he? What in the world is going to happen.?All these thoughts were spinning around my head. When dewy finally got shot, I was sweating and just about ready to die. This is an amazing book and I recommend it to all ages above 10 because of all the action.

    ...more info
    this is the 2nd to last book and is exciting, thrilling, and adventerous!
    the Boudelaires come face to face with Olaf for the 2nd to last time! this book is funny and easy to read. Although, if you haven't read the other 11 books, you might get a little lost....more info
  • The 12th Unfortunate Event
    The Hotel Denoument is the 12th book of the Series of Unfortunate Events series. I gave it 5 stars because it was very exciting and kept me wondering what would happen next.
    It starts out that a pregnant woman named Kit Snicket brings them to the Hotel Denoument in a very cautious way. Her and the three Beaudilaires have a picnic "on top of the roof". Come to find out it was a pond reflecting the hotel.
    With the big meeting for V.F.D. on it's way, the hotel is extremely busy. there are 2 Denoument managers who are twins and one is good and one is bad. There is a very important sugar bowl that holds the secrets of V.F.D. Soon to find out there is a 3rd Denoument brother that is thier triplet. The 3rd Denoument brother is definetely good. His name is Dewey Denoument. He helps the Beaudilaires try and get the sugar bowl. The Baudilaires are still uncertain weather thier parents are alive but they are doing everything they can to find out. A very tragic event happens in this book but to find out what it is you will have to read the book!!!!!!!...more info
  • Better or Worse than the others?
    I think that The Penultimate Peril is the second best book in the series of Unforunate Events.The best would probly be The Reptile Room.But i liked this book very much because it was fun to read just like all of them but i always like to read futher into the Bauldilares lives.I would recomend this book to anyone that has read the other Unfortunate Event books because it is very good....more info
  • Penultimate Peril
    This Book was exciting, especially when Count Olaf kidnapped Justice Strauss.
    It has good literature, and sometimes gives the definition. I also like it because it makes you want to keep reading it. I rate this book five stars....more info
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book 12
    In the twelfth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket the Baudelaires' journey continues on a downward spiral. As the Baudelaires look for the Sugar Bowl they disguise themselves as concierges at the hotel the Sugar Bowl is located. In their search the Baudelaires see some old and new faces. Also some are good and some are bad faces. Klaus, Sunny, and Violet are trapped by Count Olaf again and must make important decisions. I would recommend this children's book if you enjoyed the first eleven books of the series. As the Baudelaires are close to the end of their journey there are still many questions still left to be answered....more info
  • Awe-some!
    This book is very well written and carefully plotted with a cliffhanger of a ending!

    Previous questions are being answered, while new questions are forming. Kit Snicket, Jacques Snicket and LEMONY SNICKET? Connection???

    Cant wait till the last book!

    Though there are upsetting parts, this book is funny and worthwile. I couldnt put it down till the last page....more info
  • Ok but ...
    After the first 11 books, that were laced with black comedy and inopportune situations handled and aligned in a way to make sense, the 12th books somehow leaves the reader gasping for more and ends with a flat note. I can, however, find cognizance with the moral of the story that sometimes people you think you are close to, fail you with their "nobleness" or lack of guts! That you have to find strength in yourself to fight your own wars and that a family has an important part to play when you're struggling through your live. I think the gist of the story is that that the three children find succor in each other - almost a live force driven by love, that protects them and eventually helps to extricate them from impossible situations! ...more info
  • Complete fluff
    Tons of filler in this book.

    Snicket brings back most of the characters for a courtroom showdown which means he takes every opportunity to use the following format:

    "It's a bird!"
    "It's a plane!"
    "It's a hook!"
    "It's a book!"
    "It's a rail!"
    "It's a tail!"
    and on and on.

    And also to spend whole paragraphs hashing over what everyone is doing, e.g.:

    X was stumbling around and ran into Y who was hanging onto Z and they bumped into A who was still wearing the necklace she stole from B who was in the next room with C trying to blah blah blah...

    Snicket can get more than an entire page worth of that stuff.

    No good descriptions or plot developments, just list after list after list.

    He does try to inject a subtext commenting on moral ambiguity but all that gets buried under the Snicket cliches of melodramatic crying kids (stop already!), wimpy adults who are too poorly written to be witty satires, idiotic evil villains and plot holes.

    The kids are clever one moment and complete dolts the next.

    Yup, by this point, I detest the characters and Snicket and this wretched story that never goes anywhere. The lit and linguistic winks don't even begin to compensate for the crappily crafted story.

    I find it insulting how Snicket manipulates his readers. It seems like the kids tearing up and crying is directly proportional to the increasing crappiness of the stories. Since we're less sympathetic towards the kids because they a.) fail to learn from previous mistakes, b.) fail to seize opportunities, c.) repeatedly fail to use the brains they are reputed to have (for all the inventing skills, reading and life experience, you'd think they'd have a lick of common sense), Snicket makes them turn on the waterworks.


    I haven't had to skip this many paragraphs and pages since The Notebook....more info