Fleeing the village of VFD, after some time in the Deluxe cell for a murder they did not commit, the Baudelaires hide with the Volunteers Fighting Disease on their way to the Heimlich Hospital. Addressed by Babs, who can only be contacted through an intercom speaker on a desk, the orphans start work with the near-sighted Hal in the hospital library of records. Hal says he remembers a file in the records to do with the Snicket fires, but before the children can find it, Babs is suddenly replace by Mattathias - none other than Count Olaf - who plans to inspect every employee in the hospital. Staying late to find the file, the Baudelaires find a picture of their parents with Jacques Snicket, and another, partly obscured figure who may be a writer. But at that moment Esme Squalor arrives - Klaus and Sunny escape, but Violet is led to the operating theatre for a cranioectomy. Disguising themselves, Klaus and Sunny manage to rescue the unconscious Violet, but not before Esme has set fire to the library of records, adding arson to the false charges now facing the children. Chased through the now burning hospital, they make their escape, only to discover that the only way out is to hide in the trunk of Count Olaf's car - possibly the most dangerous place of all.
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As you might expect, nothing but woe befalls the unlucky Baudelaire orphans in the eighth grim tale in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events that began with The Bad Beginning. Ever since the orphans' photographs were plastered across the front page of The Daily Punctilio in an article falsely accusing them of murder, they have been on the run. Only when they disguise themselves as cheerful hospital volunteers (Volunteers Fighting Disease, to be exact), do they see a possible refuge. Of course, this backfires hideously. Where is their ineffectual guardian, Mr. Poe, when they need him most? Will the evil, greedy Count Olaf be successful in giving poor Violet a cranioectomy at the Heimlich Hospital? Is a heart-shaped balloon really better than water for a thirsty patient? Is no news really good news? As ever, Snicket refuses to comfort young readers with cozy answers and satisfying escapes. And, as ever, there are plenty of rusty blades and horrible plot twists to make us shudder and shameless-but-hilarious wordplay to make us grimace happily. Bring on the next one! (Ages 9 and older) --Karin SnelsonFrom the Back Cover:
The Baudelaires need a safe place to stay - somewhere far away from terrible villains and local police. A quiet refuge where misfortune never visits. Might Heimlich Hospital be just the place? In Lemony Snicket′s eighth ghastly instalment in A Series of Unfortunate Events, I′m sorry to say that the Baudelaire Orphans will spend time in a hospital where they risk encountering a misleading newspaper headline, unnecessary surgery, an intercom system, anesthesia, heart-shaped balloons, and some very startling news about a fire.
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