Last week Auntie M gave you two Nora Roberts romances to consider for idling away off-time in the summer heat. This time I’m offering more brain candy in the hilarious category.

Lisa Lutz has created a most unusual set of characters in the San Franciso Spellmans, a high functioning, but severely dysfunctional family. All but older brother David, a lawyer, are in the private investigation business, including teen sister Rae.  Debuting in The Spellman Files, big sister Izzy is the narrator of the trouble she or some other member of her family usually manages to trip over and that book has been mentioned before.

The second offering for your summer reading pleasure is Curse of the Spellmans. Izzy, the Get Smart-obsessed narrator, returns to explain just how she has managed to be arrested for the fourth time in three months.

The story of her arrests is told via her explanation to her 80-something lawyer, Morty. There is a suspicious neighbor, whom Izzy is convinced is a murderer; an investigation into vandalism events at a neighbor’s precious holiday displays, which are eerily similar to those committed by Izzy and her best friend years ago; and sister Rae’s domination of Inspector Henry Stone, who is a solid force in the Spellman sisters lives.
Lutz’s style itself is worth the read. She gives us various “reports” on people, copies of their taped conversations, and varied footnotes to explain situations. She also numbers Izzy’s former boyfriends. There are some of the most original characters here, including the Spellman parental unit, as Rae calls them.  And Amusing and imaginative and highly creative.
And just to outdo herself, Lutz swings back with Revenge of the Spellmans.

This time Izzy is enduring court-ordered therapy and works her way through two therapists. By now, if you’ve read the other two books, this will come as no real surprise to you.
Izzy is being blackmailed, too, and has sworn off her PI work. As the book opens, she doing a stint as a bartender at her favorite watering hole, the Philosopher’s Club, which Rae frequents for her shots of ginger ale. Izzy is out of a place to live, out of solid work, and has to decide whether she wants to go back into the family business or not.  Henry Stone has acquired a girlfriend, which has led Izzy to see just where her fickle heart has been diverted. And Rae continues to be Rae, a most precocious teen who is learning to drive and helps herself to various vehicles by very imaginative means.
The same format, the same humor, but with increasing imagination, if that’s at all possible, make this one mandatory reading for laugh-out-loud summer fun.
Heads up: There’s a fourth installment, The Spellmans Strike Again, which will be read before August is gone.
I expect more of the same and am truly looking forward to it.
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