If the great hard-boiled detective novelists Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon) and Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye) had a dry sense of humor and wrote for kids, the results might be something like Who Could That Be at This Hour? It's the first book in a new four-volume series by Lemony Snicket, pen name and alter ego of Daniel Handler. It's also a prequel to Handler's best-selling A Series of Unfortunate Events, which featured Snicket as adult narrator and a character. In the new mystery, Snicket recalls when he was almost 13 and started an apprenticeship with an enigmatic secret society. His chaperone defines apprentice as "a word which here means 'a person who works under me and does absolutely everything I tell him to do.'"