The Composer is Dead is a fascinating book that seamlessly weaves together narrative, illustrations, and sound. Lemony Snicket is, as previously demonstrated in his middle grade Series of Unfortunate Events books, incredibly clever and great at building tension. Like his novels, this book is hilarious but with an underlying hint of darkness that adds to the reading experience. Carson Ellis's watercolor illustrations are beautiful, sweeping works of art that evoke and complement the accompanying music, and his silhouettes of the instruments remind the reader that this is a mystery and the musicians are all under suspicion. Despite the wonderful text and illustrations, this book would be nothing special without the amazing orchestral music that accompanies the text. Nathaniel Stookey's original music is tailored for the book, and I doubt that any more effective book on CD has ever been crafted. The music fits into the spaces behind and around Lemony Snicket's narration, and is obviously the centerpiece of this work.There is no doubt that The Composer is Dead is a remarkable book. However, the audience for it is tricky to pin down. The jacket copy claims an audience of "Grades K up," but I would guess that most children so young wouldn't be patient enough to sit through the music. If there happens to be a young child with a love of classical music around, this book might be perfect, but many children would be bored. This seems more like the kind of book that a parent would love but would fall flat with kids.This book reminded me pleasantly of the books on cassette I used to listen to when I was very little, only about ten times better. Reading The Composer is Dead was an extremely pleasurable experience, and I loved being able to enjoy the book on three different levels. I found myself studying the illustrations more carefully than I would if I had been reading along without Lemony Snicket's narration to slow me, savoring each new page. I found Lemony Snicket's text as laugh-out-loud clever as always, and I especially loved the music. I found myself wishing I had a child around to try the book out on, because I'm curious about how kids would react to this book. Overall, I absolutely adored this book, but I'm left more than a little puzzled about who the audience is meant to be.