It was Winston Churchill who once referred to a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Sure, Churchill was talking about pre-WWII Russia, but we think he came up with the perfect description for the elusive relationship between Lemony Snicket and Beatrice. If you're not certain who either of these characters is, let's back up. Lemony Snicket is the narrator and scribe who records the woeful tales of the orphaned Baudelaire children in the Series of Unfortunate Events. And Beatrice is . . . actually no one is quite sure who Beatrice really is. Could she be Lemony's late wife? His lost love? A child? The mystery is especially perplexing because Lemony has been droppping hints about Beatrice's identity for years. Since 1999, Lemony (who is assisted by writer Daniel Handler) has penned 12 books in the wildly popular series, earning multiple slots on the children's bestseller lists and inspiring a 2004 Hollywood film.

This fall, the series reaches its conclusion with the publication of the 13th and final book, titled simply The End. Scheduled for release on Friday, the 13th of October, the last volume may finally answer the questions that have fascinated readers since book one: What really happened to the parents of the poor Baudelaire kids? Will they escape the clutches of the evil Count Olaf once and for all? Just who is Lemony Snicket? And perhaps most intriguing of all—who is Beatrice?

For those who can't wait until Oct. 13 to find out more about the mysterious Beatrice, next month HarperCollins will release a collection of her correspondence with Lemony. The Beatrice Letters offers plenty of fodder for amateur detectives codes, a double-sided poster, letters of the alphabet to be punched out and rearranged, eerie photographs and, of course, letters between the two key figures. Or are there actually three people involved? Lemony leads readers to believe that there are two different Beatrices, and we always trust what Lemony has to say. Take this brutally honest description of his undying affection for Beatrice: "I never want to be apart from you again, Beatrice, except in the restroom, at work, and when one of us is at a movie that the other does not want to see." And what about the anagrams formed from the book's punch-out letters? Could they hold the secret of who Beatrice really is and how she is connected to the Baudelaire family?

As usual, Lemony is a bit circumspect on the topic: "The arrangement of these letters could spell more than one thing," he writes,  "just as there is more than one Beatrice, and so the mystery could become two mysteries, and each of these mysteries could become two mysteries, until the whole world is engulfed in mysteries, as it is now." We'll leave it to Lemony himself to provide the ultimate solution to all this confusion, but in the meantime, we plan to grab a hanky and keep reading.

 

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