RogerBW's Blog

The Last Word, Lisa Lutz 26 October 2022

2013 mystery-adjacent; sixth and last in the Spellmans series. Izzy took over the family private investigation company, but that doesn't mean her parents are happy with it. Oh, and someone seems to be trying to set her up for an embezzlement charge. Vt Spellman Six: The Next Generation.

In fact everything seems to be going downhill at the same time, for no obvious reason. Why should all these problems crop up at once? Just to make the book more interesting? Yes, I know it happens, but this is fiction and it feels as though it should have a reason to happen beyond the author's thumb on the scales.

Also, perhaps I've just burned out on these broken people who will do pretty much anything other than have a straightforward conversation with each other to work out their problems. Much as in real life, they can be fun for a brief visit, but one wouldn't want to live with them, and I ended up reading books 2-6 of the series all in this year, rather than one per year as they were written.

Isabel has indeed grown up a bit since book one, but she's also lost her edge; this time she's much more put-upon, and trying to get out of her various problems, than causing problems for other people. Which would put her more in the mainstream of female-PI stories, except that these books aren't really about the investigation so that's missing too. Can't she get more mature but still retain her sense of fun? (There may be some personal bias here; I've never subscribed to the idea that one must dump everything one enjoyed from childhood when one becomes an adult, and have only socially acceptable interests instead.)

Books 1-4 are escapist enjoyment. Books 5-6, to me at least, feel drab and supernumerary.

Lutz has written other books since this series ended, and I may well give them a look, but I think she's said all she had to say about these people, and alas carried on for a bit longer after that.

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