It was not so dark that I couldn’t see her strange, curved eyebrows, each one coiled over like a question mark. Green eyes she had, and hair so black it made the night look pale. She had long fingers, with nails just as black, and they poked out of a black shirt with long, smooth sleeves. And right before she started climbing down the ladder, I saw her smile, shadowy in the moonlight. It was a smile that might have meant anything.
Lemony, Snicket. “Who Could That Be at This Hour?
“The femme fatale Ellington Feint drinks coffee. Lemony Snicket has never had coffee before, and he’s nervous about it, and over the course of the four-book series, he goes from dreading coffee and being afraid of it to needing a cup of coffee before he does something.
So it’s something of a stand-in for the chemical inducements that can lace a noir book, but it’s also something, I think, for his loss of innocence, in that he goes from not understanding why anyone would drink anything bitter to wondering why people don’t drink bitter things all the time."
The difference between A Series of Unfortunate Events and All The Wrong Questions is the difference between gothic literature and noir literature. […]
In gothic literature people are hopeless and lonely, wandering around a landscape, wondering at the sinister mysteries engulfing them, and in noir literature… sometimes they have a drink in their hands while they’re doing that.