The Composer is Dead

The Composer is Dead

By (author) Lemony Snicket , Illustrated by Carson Ellis


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There's dreadful news from the symphony hall-the composer is dead! If you have ever heard an orchestra play, then you know that musicians are most certainly guilty of something. Where exactly were the violins on the night in question? Did anyone see the harp? Is the trumpet protesting a bit too boisterously? In this perplexing murder mystery, everyone seems to have a motive, everyone has an alibi, and nearly everyone is a musical instrument. But the composer is still dead. Perhaps you can solve the crime yourself. Join the Inspector as he interrogates all the unusual suspects. Then listen to the accompanying audio recording featuring Lemony Snicket and the music of Nathaniel Stookey performed by the San Francisco Symphony. Hear for yourself exactly what took place on that fateful, well-orchestrated evening.

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  • Hardback | 40 pages
  • 218 x 280 x 12mm | 399.16g
  • 03 Mar 2009
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins
  • New York
  • English
  • 0061236276
  • 9780061236273
  • 43,519

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Author Information

Lemony Snicket is often despondent, mostly about his published research, which includes A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Composer Is Dead. Colin Meloy once wrote Ray Bradbury a letter, informing him that he "considered himself an author too." He was ten. Since then, Colin has gone on to be the singer and songwriter for the band the Decemberists, where he channels all of his weird ideas into weird songs. With the Wildwood Chronicles, he is now channeling those ideas into novels. As a kid, Carson Ellis loved exploring the woods, drawing, and nursing wounded animals back to health. As an adult, little has changed-except she is now the acclaimed illustrator of several books for children, including Lemony Snicket's The Composer Is Dead, Dillweed's Revenge by Florence Parry Heide, and The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Colin and Carson live with their sons, Hank and Milo, in Oregon.

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Review text

In this characteristically unsettling invitation to Meet the Orchestra, the Composer leads off - dead or, as the author puts it, "decomposing" at his desk. Enter the Inspector - bearing a certain resemblance to the aforementioned scrivener (or at least his alter ego) in Ellis's note-strewn, atmospherically wan watercolors - to grill each section of instruments and to pick apart their alibis. When the Inspector at last accuses the Conductor of doing the dirty deed, all of the former suspects step up to declare collective guilt: "All of us have butchered a composer at one time or another. But we also keep composers alive." On the accompanying CD the melodramatic narrative is set to percussive music, which is reprised without the author's reading on a second set of tracks. Conceived as an alternative to "Peter and the Wolf" but more a send-up than an informational visit to the pit, the episode isn't likely to make much of a lasting impression on young audiences. (Picture book. 8-10, adult) (Kirkus Reviews)

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