Breezy. Hilarious. Satisfying. These three adjectives perfectly describe Lisa Lutz’s latest installment (#5) in the Spellman series, a collection of light, witty PI novels. If you haven’t met the Spellmans yet, think HARRIET THE SPY for adults. Here are the first four titles:
THE SPELLMAN FILES
CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS
REVENGE OF THE SPELLMANS
THE SPELLMANS STRIKE AGAIN
In one of the books (I can’t recall which one, and have lent out all of my copies), we meet Izzy, our fearless narrator, as she is being chased in mystery-thriller fashion through a parking garage—wait for it—by her own parents. I couldn’t think of a better way to illustrate the kooky dysfunctionality of a family of private investigators.
What I love about this series (besides the wise-cracking dialogue) is how the main characters evolve. Unlike some other mystery series where the characters become two-dimensional, predictable, and stale, in Lutz’s hands, people learn and grown and change in plausible, interesting ways. For example, in this new book, Izzy’s previously-vain older brother, “Old David,” has become overprotective stay-at-home-dad “New David.” Her wildly mischievous kid sister, Rae, has enrolled in college and is starting to pull stunts for more mature reasons. And Izzy herself comes to some important realizations about her values, her relationship with Henry Stone, and her career.
All in all, it’s a good way to spend a Saturday night.
PS—If you like this book, you should also check out HEADS YOU LOSE (which Lutz co-wrote with her ex-boyfriend, David Hayward), which I described in an earlier post.