If you don't know who the Spellmans are, now is the time to meet the family who believe eavesdropping is a mandatory skill, think locks are meant to be picked and see blackmail as a preferred form of negotiation - all in the name of unconditional love.
Isabel "Izzy" Spellman - everyone's favourite P.I and the madcap heroine of the uproarious The Spellman Files is back and she's just been sprung from jail for the fourth time in three months. When she finds herself homeless and simultaneously barred from the Spellman offices-cum-residence by a very inconvenient temporary restraining order, Izzy meets with Mort Schilling, her octogenarian lawyer, to hammer out a defense and save her now endangered P.I. licence. Over San Francisco's best New York-style deli fair, Izzy recaps the highlights of her recent past and her encounters with the man whose villainy she's determined to unveil, even if she must break the law to do it.
When Izzy first met John Brown, she couldn't have been more pleased with Spellman Investigations' new neighbor. Handsome in a way reminiscent of her favourite Hitchcock actor, a great cook, and interested in her, John was too good to be true so Izzy did what any sensible Spellman would do... she began to investigate him. But between his "so common, too common, conveniently common" name, his curious reluctance to let her rifle through his wallet and the permanently locked room in his apartment, Izzy can't get the information she needs for a background check.
John Brown soon becomes 'subject' and Izzy's infatuation quickly turns to obsession - of the non-romantic variety - when she bumps into him as he's depositing his recycling and observes that "for a gardener, he sure shreds a lot of paper". Izzy finds her suspicions validated when further surveillance reveals 'subject' participating in two landestine package exchanges. However, 'subject' proves to be as wily as Izzy is persistent and soon both the law and her parents are siding with him and trying to put a stop to her snooping.
To further complicate matters, ferreting out 'subjects'' crimes isn't the only unpaid investigate that Izzy is working on. A peculiar family on the best of days, the Spellman clan is outdoing itself in the erratic behaviour department, so much so that Izzy finds herself writing up Suspicious Behavior Reports on each member- even her brother David, a normally boring specimen of male perfection - hoping to figure out why everyone around her is acting so nutty.
"Loved the people, the story and the format. Hugely entertaining fun." Good Reading
"I'd like to think Isabel is who Nancy Drew grew up to be. Sassy, hip foul-mouthed and totally enjoyable." Sunday Canberra Times.
Curse of the Spellmans
Simon and Schuster Australia
Author: Lisa Lutz
Price: Paperback. RRP: $29.95