The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. Illustrated by Brett Helquist. (1999, HarperCollins. ISBN 9780064407663. Order Info .) Chapter Book. 162 pages. Gr 4-8.
This Gothic spoof is the first book in a long series which was also made into a movie. Unlike other mystery series this one takes the entire series to solve the mystery. In the meantime there are smaller mysteries and much peril to entertain the reader. The narrator's voice is prominent here as he tells us about the plight of three orphans whose parents were killed and who are pursued by a guardian who is intent on getting the family fortune from them. The mystery concerns who killed their parents and why. The books are very funny and addictive. The audio versions ( Order Info ) are also very well done.