The Vile Village: Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Seventh by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Harper Collins, New York, 2001.
This is the continuing sage of the Baudelaire children. The big the Vile Village because it is called V.F.D. In this case the initials refer to Village of Foul Devotees. The town is infested with crows, and the village members almost worship them. There is one thing worse than crows every place, and that is Count Olaf and his henchmen, who also show up. However, they keep getting messages from Quagmire triplets. Klaus has to put the messages together, to discover where they triplets are, so they can be rescued. At the same time they must rescue themselves. The Village is their guardian, but actually it is just Hector who cares for them. Hector is afraid of the town council, so goes along with the purpose of the Baudelaires is to clean after everyone.
In this book, the children do better at rescuing than saving themselves. The are accused of a murder, of Count Olaf no less, who actually murdered Jaques Snicket, who had information for the children. However he isn't allowed to deliver his message before he is murdered, and the Baudelaire children are framed.
The Baudelaires and the Quagmires, and Hector attempt to make their escape in the invention of Harold which Violet improved. A self sustaining floating vehicle. In the end, the Quagmires escape, and the Baudelaires get away on foot in the end, and just miss the Quagmire notes which have more information on VFD.
Each book the kids are frustrated in finding information abut their parents, the fire, and who is this Jaques Snicket that had a message for them.
There is plenty to keep you coming back for more of this, even though the author sends you away at the beginning of each book.
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