In season one, episode two of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children ask Justice Strauss for certain books.

She says:

Well, I do have a section on rashes.
It's right next to Chinese cars.

Now as I understand the series so far, a lot of stuff is placed with context and meaning. So what relevance have chinese cars to rashes?

I assume there could be a relation the the real cause of Klaus' bruises or the Baudelaire children's whole situation as well.

  • What if it was because she suspected the true cause of what happened to Klaus and was actually pointing them to the section on Child Abuse? Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 13:11
  • @Snvkechvrmer .... because they both start with "ch" ? Very much a stretch.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


Oh, it's quite simple really. It's alphabetical.

Chinese word for car is 汽車

which is anglicized as Qìchē and read as Quizhe, thus making it after the word Quiz. R goes after letter Q in the alphabet.

It is believable that the word Qìchē is the last section in the library's Q section before the R section, while the "Rash" section is possibly the first section in the library's R section. It might be the small or "weird" library, having many books on odd subjects.

That is if you ignore other words starting with R which would come before the word rash, such as

race (verb)

racial (adjective)


radical (adjective)

radio (noun)


rail (noun)

railroad (noun)


rain forest

raise (verb)

range (noun)

rank (noun)

rapid (adjective)

rare (adjective)


It should also be pointed out that almost all those previous words when read start with Re- while the rash is the first one which actually reads like Ra-. So the library might be arranged by phonetic pronunciation of the words and not how they are spelled.

  • 1
    This is fantastic :)
    – npst
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 11:35
  • 1
    That is if you ignore other words Unless the books pertaining to these words are found on book shelves below the book on chinese cars; and the book on rashes is found on the shelf exactly to the right of the shelve with the book on Chinese cars. Just because they're physically adjacent doesn't always mean they're adjacent in the (alphabetical) sorting.
    – Flater
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 11:27
  • 1
    @Flater Agreed. I could arrange the books in my library alphabetically all I want, but I still will not have books about many subjects. If I was interested in Chinese cars and rashes but not in race, rage, railroad, radiation or rank, then Chinese cars would be next to rashes.
    – jo1storm
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 13:29
  • 1
    @jo1storm: That's not what I meant. Think of it this way: open a book at a random point. The top lines of both pages are physically adjacent, but they don't directly follow each other. You first read the left page top to bottom, and only then do you read the right page. Think of two bookshelves as two pages. The left top shelf is chinese cars, the right top shelf is rashes. Everything inbetween chinese cars and rashes if found in the left book shelf. The two top shelves are physically adjacent but they don't direct follow each other.
    – Flater
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 7:04
  • @Flater I get it now. So, if the library is very long for example, C can share shelf with R. Nice, didn't think of that.
    – jo1storm
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 14:35

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