A Series of Unfortunate Events
is a series of children's novels by Lemony Snicket
which follows the turbulent lives of Violet
, and Sunny Baudelaire
after their parents' death in a house fire. The children are placed in the custody of their distant cousin Count Olaf
, who openly plots to embezzle their inheritance. After the Baudelaires are removed from his care by their parents' estate executor, Arthur Poe
, Olaf begins to doggedly hunt the children down, bringing about the serial slaughter of a multitude of characters. The entire series is actively narrated by Snicket, who makes numerous references to his mysterious, deceased love interest, Beatrice
. Both Snicket and Beatrice play roles in the story along with Snicket's family members
, all of whom are part of an overarching conspiracy known to the children only as "V.F.D.
" Since the release of the first novel, The Bad Beginning
, in September 1999, the books have gained significant popularity, critical acclaim, and commercial success worldwide, spawning a film
, video game
, and assorted merchandise. The thirteen books in the series (or "tridecalogy") have collectively sold more than 60 million copies and have been translated into 41 languages.