'The Bad Beginning' is the first book in the Series of Unfortunate Events series. The book was published by Lemony Snicket in 1999.
The Baudelaire children - Violet, Klaus, and Sunny - are at Brinny Beach when Mr. Poe, a neighbor of the Baudelaires, informs the children about a terrible fire that burned down the mansion and killed their parents. Mr. Poe takes them to Count Olaf, a 4th cousin 3 times removed, or a 3rd cousin 4 times removed.
Count Olaf makes the orphans cook food for his assistants and him. The orphans go to Justice Strauss, who gives a cookbook for Puttanesca Sauce. The orphans cook it, but Count Olaf informs them he wanted roast beef. He slaps Klaus but quickly calms down.
The orphans go to Mr. Poe's office and explain the abuse that Count Olaf has done to them. Mr. Poe tells them it is perfectly legal and that Count Olaf is acting in loco parentis. The next morning, Count Olaf tells them Mr. Poe told him about the meeting the orphans had the day before.
The count also tells the orphans about a new play he is in, called the Marvelous Marriage. He tells them they have to perform, and Klaus gets suspicious that the play is a real marriage. He spends the day reading Nupital Law. When he tells Count Olaf about his evidence, and Olaf informs Klaus that Sunny is being hung in a cage at the top of the tower.
When Violet tries to rescue Sunny, she gets found by an assistant and locked in the tower with Klaus. In the morning, the Baudelaire orphans act in the play, after many failed tries to inform Strauss and Poe. At the part of the play where Violet signs the paper, she signs with her left instead of her right.
Olaf tells the audience that Violet is legally married to him, but Violet contradicts, saying that she signed with her left hand, when the law said she had to sign with her "own hand." Justice Strauss informs Olaf that Violet is right. She tries to arrest Olaf, but the lights flicker out, and Olaf's team escapes, while the Baudelaire children - Violet, Klaus, and Sunny - are sent to live elsewhere.
Mr. and Mrs. Baudelaire