This book is about orphans living alone without parents and a man called Count Olaf is is chasing after them for the childrens fortune.
It starts of when the Baudelaire orphans, Voilet,Claus, and Sunny, were running for their lives because they were falsely accused of murdering Jacques Snicket at the end of the previous book. Finally, the orphans reached a shop which gave them breakfast and let them send a telegram to Mr.Poe. Since the news of the murderer was spread everywhere and it's even in the newspaper, the orphans couldn't stay long and had to go because the shop keeper found out about the news.
They ran and ran and found a van which led to the Volunteers Fighting Disease. It is a group of people that go to the hospital and sing songs to the patience and sick people. So the orphans followed the van to the hospital and pretend to a volunteer also. But soon they got a job with Hal, in the library of records in the hospital. The Baudelaire orphans' job was to sort files in the right place. Hal explains to them that they look familiar. He then says that he remembers them in a file about the Snicket fires. At night, they are forced to sleep in the unfinished half of the hospital where it's cold and damp. But the orphans were sneaky and went back to the library of records at night and read about the Snicket file. But as they were in the library, Count Olaf's wife appear in the library. Claus and Sunny escape up a chute but Violet couldn't climb up one because she is to big. So she got caught and brought back to see Count Olaf.
Count Olaf ddecided to chop Violet's head of and then deal with Klaus and Sunny. Will Klaus and Sunny rescue Violet before Count Olaf and his troops chop Violet's head off? What will happen next to the Baudelaire orphans?