The Baudelaire orphans are dumped at a boarding school. Given that they are each very intelligent, inquisitive children, one might expect this book to be a refreshing change from their usually miserable lives. But alas, their teachers force them to memorize pointless things and the headmaster requires their attendance at his nightly six hour
violin recitals. And then Count Olaf shows up!
The one glimmer of goodness in this soup of despair is that for the first time, the Baudelaires make friends.