Stain'd-by-the-Sea is the main setting for the book series All the Wrong Questions and first appears in Who Could That Be at This Hour? as the setting for which Lemony Snicket's first mission as a neophyte for V.F.D. takes place. It is about a half day's drive from the city.
It once was by the sea, but all the water was pumped away into Killdeer Fields, to save the town. Every now and again a bell rings, and you have to put on a mask to protect yourself from salt lung, although Snicket's chaperone S. Theodora Markson incorrectly states that it is to be able to breathe in depth of the water pressure. The town is "fading", and its major export, ink, is quickly running out, thus vastly slowing the local economy.
Stain'd once had a prolific newspaper, The Stain'd Lighthouse, but ever since the ink began to run out is has been unable to be published. Much of Stain'd is in ruins, or slowly being destroyed, but some places still withstand, including The Lost Arms, Mallahan Lighthouse, the Public Library and the Police Station, Ellington's shack in Handkerchief Heights, the Sallis Mansion and Black Cat Coffee among others. It is located on an island, and the buildings were once elegant, but now are broken and battered.
The Clusterous Forest is formed on the edge of the town, next to the lighthouse. Near this and the outskirts of the town are sloping hills covered in trees. Most of the building are uninhabited. The sidewalks are cracked, and most businesses are abandoned. Whole neighborhoods are vacant, the most vacant being Blotted Boulevard. Old bottles and cans litter the streets, and the Sallis Mansion is smack in the middle of the town. There is also a huge giant pen shaped building at the far edge of the town, called Ink Inc. where the Knight Family currently lives and operates the inking industry. There is only one open restaurant, a small diner called Hungry's, which is operated by Hungry Hix and her nephew Jake Hix. There is a building that is labeled 'City Hall' that doubles as a police station and a library. All business that are still open are fairly empty. There used to be a number of schools near the town, but now they have closed. There is never anyone on the streets of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, so there is nobody that Lemony can ask for directions. The building are all boarded on most streets. Some neighborhoods have been knocked down completely. They are now nothing but flat empty lots.
Ink is Stain'd-by-the-Sea's most famous export. Needles took it out of wells and into barrels. The ink is made by octopi, distributed when they are frightened. The ink industry is not as popular anymore, with the inkwells drying up. There are still barrels of ink and ink producing machines lining the edge of the town. And although there isn't much ink left, due to the lack of octopus schools, few workers still produce ink. The needle machine work quietly and efficiently. The ink produced by Stain'd-by-the-Sea is said to make the darkest most permanent stains.
Stall and shops:
- Black Cat Coffee - A coffee, bread and attic stall that is managed by anyone who pleads coffee, bread or the attic.
- Hungry's - A fast-food and breakfast diner, owned by Hungry Hix and her nephew Jake Hix.
- The Aquarium - A pet store, that specialises in underwater animals, namely tadpoles. The shop also contains several apartments.
- Partial Foods - An awful store that sells hardly anything. It sells cereal and honeydew melons, but those are the only things mentioned in the books.
Services and council buildings:
- City Hall + Police Station Building - Owned by Mimi and Harvey Mitchum. The building also contains one cell.
- Library - The Library is attached to the police station and is managed by Dashiell Qwerty, a young librarian.
- Colophon Clinic - The Clinic is owned by Dr. Flammarion and is occupied by Colonel Colophon. The dark, eerie building has a swimming pool, basement and a tall turret.
- The Lost Arms - A severely run down hotel owned by Prosper Lost. It also contains the Far East Suite.
- Ink Inc. - The largest and tallest building in the town and is owned by the Knight family.
- Mallahan Lighthouse - The lighthouse is owned by the Mallahan company and used to be the printing press location of the of the town's newspaper. The lighthouse also has a hawser and an attic.
- Handkerchief Heights - A small cottage that Ellington Feint once lived in.
- Sallis Mansion
- Clusterous Forest
- Stain'd Secondary School
- Wade Academy
- Stain'd-by-the-Sea Department of Education / Roe House
- Who Could That Be at This Hour?
- When Did You See Her Last?
- Shouldn't You Be in School?
- Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
- File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series) (mentioned)
- "The Carnivorous Carnival: Part One" (mentioned)