The Miserable Mill is the fourth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by American author, Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler). As we once again join the unlucky Baudelaire orphans, they are deposited at the Paltreyville train station by the manager of their estate, Mr Poe. They are to live (and apparently, work as well) at the Lucky Smells Lumber Mill, which is owned by their new guardian, whose name is so unpronounceable, he is referred to as Sir. Having already suffered the loss of their parents, the threat of marriage, and the murder of their Uncle Monty and Aunt Josephine at the hands of the evil Count Olaf and his nefarious assistants, the siblings are ever-vigilant of his reappearance. Luckily these well-mannered and uncomplaining children are also very resourceful: Violet invents, Klaus reads and Sunny bites. Snicket’s tone throughout is apologetic, sincere and matter-of-fact as he relates the unfortunate events in the children’s lives; his imaginative and even surreptitiously educational style will hold much appeal for younger readers. This instalment, our protagonists work in a lumber mill, are paid in discount coupons, given chewing gum for lunch, meet a somewhat irritating optimist and wind up counting themselves lucky to be alive. For a change, Violet reads, Klaus invents and Sunny acquits herself well in a sword fight. Hypnotism, a circular saw and gum all feature importantly. As always, the alliterative titles are delightful and Brett Helquist provides some wonderfully evocative illustrations. Are the Baudelaire Orphans destined for boarding school? I guess we will find out in The Austere Academy.