I’m not sure how I feel about “The Beatrice Letters”. I read this after I finished book 13. Otherwise I think I would have been thoroughly confused. I don’t think they should have released this before book 13 released.
First I will say that it was a very unique way to present the book. I had a copy from the library, so it was quite beat up, but I could see through to what was probably originally very pretty. I was actually surprised that the letters hadn’t been punched out of the library copy.
I was hoping that this compilation of letters was going to provide some answers to some of our still unanswered questions…but all it really did was pose more questions. Did the Beatrice really sink on their way back to civilization? If they survived, where are they now? Why doesn’t Lemony Snicket want to see baby Beatrice…she’s his niece after all?
I let others work on the anagram themselves since I had a library copy and people have been able to work on this for years. The one that seems the most sensible is “Beatrice Sank”. There was a poster included in the book that showed a boat wreck with a piece that said “Beatrice” on it with items that would have been the orphans. Then there is a cave on the other with a bunch of stuff in it. So the original thought was that they made it safely to a cave…but after reading the letters, I believe it was Snicket who was in the cave, doing yet more research in the Baudelaire’s lives.
We do know that Beatrice survives the boat ride in the very least as she grows up writing these letters and following Snicket around trying to get in touch with him. She mentions that Sunny was on the radio…which would have only happened if Sunny survived the boat ride as well. But it’s unclear when they disappeared again and why.
I feel like Snicket (Daniel Handler) just leaves all these weird open ended questions because it’s easier than planning out his story and making sure he doesn’t contradict himself. I would like to one day really see the full story and get all our answers…but I don’t believe even Handler actually has the answers to his own story.