Curse of the Spellmans is the second installment in the Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. In this story, the socially inept private investigator Izzy Spellman is facing possible jail time after her fourth (or second, depending on how you’re counting) arrest, all in about a four-month time period. Izzy has been investigating her new neighbor due to his mysteriously locked room and what she considers generally suspicious behavior. This unwarranted investigation leads to at least some of her four arrests, and gets her in plenty of trouble. Meanwhile, her younger sister Rae almost runs over family friend Detective Henry Stone, Izzy’s brother David is depressed and his wife and Izzy’s former best friend Petra is missing, Izzy’s mother is sneaking out in the middle of the night for reasons unknown, and Izzy’s father is on a health kick he refuses to explain.
All of this makes for a very entertaining novel. I also enjoyed the constant footnotes (especially the ones about the tv shows Get Smart and Dr. Who, both of which I want to watch now after reading these books) and the Stone-Spellman Show, which are essentially secretly recorded conversations between Rae and Henry Stone. It’s this kind of humor that really makes these novels fun.
I didn’t like this novel quite as much as the first. In the first novel, everyone wants Izzy to grow up and start acting like an adult, but you forgive her because you’re just meeting her and think she’s hilarious. In this second novel, Izzy’s refusal to grow up or listen to anyone starts to get annoying, especially because it leads to her making some pretty big and dangerous mistakes. The reader won’t dislike Izzy by the end, but even I was wanting Izzy to start paying attention more by the end of the story. I also liked the growing relationship between Izzy and Henry Stone, which is progressing despite how oblivious Izzy is, and despite the fact that they never have time alone without Rae around. I really want to see what happens next with those two.
Overall, a fun and entertaining read and I’m looking forward to the next books in the series.