RogerBW's Blog

The Spellmans Strike Again, Lisa Lutz 09 September 2022

2010 mystery-adjacent; fourth in the Spellmans series. Izzy Spellman is a private investigator, but she doesn't do much investigation.

In fact this book is mostly dysfunctional-family drama; it's Lutz, so that's actually pleasant to read, but we've really left the mystery, private investigator, noir sort of genre a long way behind. The book does have an arc of worse-to-better for Izzy, but while that could stand on its own I think it would make much more sense as part of the overall story (and there are two more books to go on that). People get into and out of relationships, two of them marry, someone dies, but it's all done in a soap-opera style, and if you didn't already know who they were you'd be missing a lot.

So while there is in theory a mystery (why are door knobs and lamp shades disappearing from the family house?) it's going to be a mystery with a solution quite close to home, not one that involves following people or rooting through their rubbish. (There is some of that, and a rivalry with another PI, but it's all lightweight stuff.) Izzy's younger sister Rae gets involved with a legal project to help people who may have been wrongly convicted, and gets Enthusiastic. By the end there's a note of seriousness about Izzy and her family which hasn't really been present before; they're all growing up just a little bit.

"You know that evolution is a constant process, right? Improving yourself doesn't end when you've stopped getting arrested regularly."

I'm sure it can't last, but I'm enjoying being along for the ride.

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Previous in series: Revenge of the Spellmans | Series: The Spellmans | Next in series: Trail of the Spellmans

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