Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz


Cozy MysteryCurse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Curse of the SpellmansLisa Lutz; Simon & Schuster 2008WorldCatIsabel Spellman is trying to explain to her lawyer why she has been arrested for the fourth time in a few months. This one could be serious, get her jail time, and she would have to give up her private investigator’s license. She blames part of it on “John Brown”, the Spellmans’ new neighbor. Something is wrong with his life. Izzy knows he is hiding something.

But “John Brown” isn’t the only one. Mom, Olivia Spellman, keeps sneaking out at night. Dad, Albert, seems to be visiting the gym a lot and doing generally healthy things – things he’s avoided most of his 60 plus years.

Perfect David, Izzy’s newly married older brother, is in a deep depression. His bride, and Izzy’s best friend, has disappeared and won’t return telephone calls.

Izzy’s 15-year-old sister, Rae, runs down her best friend, 40 something Henry Stone, a police sargent who arrested her a couple years earlier when she ran away from home. He was trying to teach her to drive. Also, Rae has actually made a friend or two her own age, plus may be hiding a boyfriend.

The owner of Izzy’s sublet apartment decides to return home. Bernie doesn’t mind if she stays. The thing is, he’s a slob, a letch, has loud poker parties, and smokes smelly cigars. She can’t live with him, especially if it means she has to sleep on the couch. Even Moe, the bartender at the Philosopher’s Club, doesn’t seem to be his usual self.

Isabel, like the rest of her private investigative family (except Perfect David, who is lawyer) is extremely curious (nosy) and naturally suspicious. She can’t leave things alone. “John Brown” has a room that is always locked, even when he’s home alone. Why? David misses work and sits around drinking all day. Why? Dad leaves the house early and comes back with wet hair. Why? Mom sneaks out for about an hour in the middle of the night in her pajamas. Why? And Rae – well, she’s 15 – who knows Why? anything about her.

Lisa Lutz has brought her loving, dysfunctional back in Curse of the Spellmans. It’s a worthy sequel that’s often just as amusing. If you think your family is screwy, meet the Spellmans. The family business is private investigations. But that means they spy on each other as well as for their clients. There is a larger mystery here – but that isn’t what drives the book. The family interactions are the soul of the book. The small mysteries are part of every day life and keep the reader entertained.

My daughter’s major complaint about Curse of the Spellmans is that Lutz over does the footnotes this time. They worked well in the first book, so she increased them in the second. At times they are a bit much, yet they are perfect for the way Izzy thinks. (I believe I always think in footnotes…) There are times the book tries to be too “cute and funny” but overall it works. This is an entertaining read and a great way to lighten up a dark mood.

Spellman Family at Stop! You’re Killing Me!
More books by Lisa Lutz

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