Friday, January 30, 2009

"Curse of the Spellmans" by Lisa Lutz

Thirty year old PI Izzy Spellman is arrested for the fourth time due to her obsessive investigation of her next door neighbor. After Izzy learned that the neighbor's name was John Brown, she knew he just had to be up to something.

Her family owns a detective agency and when her parents refuse to bail her out, Izzy turns to her eighty-two year old Uncle Mort to defend her. However, so that Mort can mount a defense, Izzy has to tell him the story behind her suspicions.

We meet Izzy's so called fiancee, Henry Stone, a police investigator who has just been run over, accidentally, by Izzy's sister Rae. Rae is a precocious fifteen year old who has a fixation on Henry whom she calls her "best friend". Henry is so vexed by Rae's constant attention that he begs Izzy to get her away from him so he can recover in peace.

Izzy is a daffy character who could be played by Lusa Kudrow, best know from her role on "Friends". With the bizarre behavior of the characters, this novel is a fun read.

The book's jacket informs us that the author's first book, "The Spellman Files" is in development by Paramount. With the same zany characters, the movie should be enjoyable.

The writing style mixes narration and summaries from the hidden tapes that Izzy makes from many of her conversations. It is an easy read but I find the characters too absurd to be believable and while enjoyable, I don't feel enlightened by any literary scholarship.

The reason for mentioning that is that the novel has been nominated for an Edgar Award for the best mystery novel of the year. A nomination that even the author admitted being surprised about.

Mildly recommended 2 1/2 starrs.

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