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Curse of the Spellmans: Document #2 (Izzy Spellman Mysteries) Paperback – February 10, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews
Book 2 of 6 in the Spellman Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman Files, is back with another story of the shenanigans of the Spellman family: The Curse of the Spellmans. The "parental unit" started a private investigation business when Dad retired from police work. His wife assists him and their two daughters, Isabel, (Izzy) a 30-year-old with a habit of being arrested, and Rae, a 15-year-old Cheetos-loving teen, would like to think that they help out in the family business. Especially where Izzy is concerned, this is a stretch. Brother David is a successful attorney who has nothing to do with the family enterprise. He has troubles of his own.

Izzy has been living in the apartment of a friend while he is away. When he returns unexpectedly, it quickly becomes clear that being roommates with an old, cigar-smoking, poker-playing, big drinker isn't going to work. Izzy moves home temporarily and then the fun begins. She decides that their new next door neighbor, John Brown, whose landscape gardening business she judges to be a cover, is somehow making women disappear. She gets herself invited to dinner, discovers a locked room, believes his name is phony, follows him everywhere, has a restraining order against her, and still she can't let it go.

Meanwhile, Rae has befriended a great guy, a cop named Henry Stone, who is almost too good to be true. The reader starts pulling for him and Izzy to get together right away, even though he doesn't deserve the aggravation. Lutz keeps the ball rolling faster and faster with David's problems, her parents' frequent vacations, which they refer to as "disappearances," and the fact that everyone in the family has secrets from one another. If there is any curse at work here, it is that all the family members are terminally nosy. What they discover about each other and the other players keeps you turning pages and hoping that Lutz is hard at work on the next installment of this zany family's misadventures. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This lighthearted romp, focusing on the antics of Isabel Spellman and her family of private detectives, is delightful. There's not much vocal variation by Ari Graynor for the mystery's female characters: 30-year-old Isabel sounds exactly like her teen sister and her mother. But Graynor shines portraying some of the male characters, like Morty, the Spellmans' elderly lawyer, or Isabel's slurring, cigar-smoking roommate. Isabel digitally records conversations, and Graynor recites them back in a hilarious deadpan rendition. Lutz's first outing (The Spellman Files) was fresh, funny and unwieldy; her plotting skills take a leap forward here, masterfully juggling several compelling mystery threads at a time. The quirky Spellman family is still fun, and Graynor's sardonic and sly delivery doesn't attempt to upstage the writing. One disappointment is that S&S didn't release an unabridged version.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Izzy Spellman Mysteries
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416532420
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416532422
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #609,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Lisa Lutz is the New York Times bestselling author of The Spellman Files, Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans, The Spellmans Strike Again, Trail of the Spellmans and Heads you Lose (with David Hayward). Lutz has won the Alex award and has been nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Although she attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, the University of Leeds in England, and San Francisco State University, she still does not have a bachelor's degree. Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping through a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting the screenplay Plan B, a mob comedy. After the film was made in 2000, she vowed she would never write another screenplay. How to Negotiate Everything a children's book (illustrated by Jaime Temairik) will be released in 2013 along with The Last Word, the sixth installment in the Spellman series. Lisa lives in a town you've never heard of in upstate New York.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Welcome back to the wacky world of the Spellman family. They really live in their own universe. This family of Private Investigators thinks nothing of investigating each other. They have deadbolts on their bedroom doors. They have taken to calling vacations disappearances and disappearances vacations. And they are so much fun to spend time with.

This book picks up two years after the end of the first book. And it seems everyone is acting strangely. Older brother David is staying home watching TV and eating junk. The father, Albert, is sneaking out of the house and returning with wet hair. Meanwhile, he's actually eating healthy. Olivia, the mother, is sneaking out of the house late at night herself. Youngest sister Rae is distraught about accidentally almost vehicularly manslaughtering her best friend, Inspector Henry Stone. And Isabel is hot on the trail of the copycat vandals ruining neighbor Mrs. Chandler's holiday displays. These vandals are copying the crimes that Isabel did when she was a teenage (not that she has any idea what you are talking about).

But what has really captured Isabel's attention is the Spellman's new neighbor. "John Brown" seems nice enough, but he sure has lots of shredded paper. And who really has such a common name? Plus Isabel can't track down any information on him. And he is evasive with answers to her questions. You know, simple things like where are you from? What do you do for a living? When were you born? What's your social security number? All this leads Isabel to be arrested four times (or twice depending on how you count) in a matter of months. How will it all end?

As with the first in the series, this book is hard to adequately describe.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this funny and brilliantly original book , although it might be false advertising to call it a detective or mystery novel. It's true that the first person narrator, thirty year old Izzy Spellman, is a private detective, and there are two disappeared women, but the mystery is not a page turner. The story centers more on her relationship with her parents (also both private eyes) her 16 year old sister, and the various men she is considering adding to her list of ex-boyfriends. (The full list is in an appendix). She is inept, in the Stephanie Plum manner, but on the whole this is chick-lit, and Bridget Jones came to mind a lot more than Miss Marples. I don't know if this qualifies as transcending the genre - maybe it's sidestepping it.
This is second in a series. I missed the first one. I'm going back to the Amazon site right now to buy it.
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Format: Hardcover
In the second installment of the Spellman series, we encounter several small, harmless mysteries in this P.I. family and unlike other suspense building novels of its genre, only confront a tiny climax of 'bad guy' adventure near the end with less than 20 pages to go. But for this novel it works! Each family member, centered around the main character of Isabel, contributes a series of suspicious actions which make for a hilarious plot. (And yes, even though David, the oldest child, chose long ago not to join the family business, he has a mystery of his own.)

Lacking in shootouts, dead bodies, violence or surprise twists and turns normally associated with a mystery novel, this book investigates the quirks and odd, yet funny, behaviors that make this family so suspicious and loving of each other. While spying on her parents, Olivia and Albert, younger sister Rae, older brother David and the Suspect next door, Isabel faces the truth of her assumptions in the end and ultimately must deal with tough questions about her own life that she has kept buried.

Lisa Lutz's fast-paced dialogue and short scenes make for a quick, delightful read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Izzy Spellman, PI, is at the epicenter of all the drama involving her file-snooping, car-following, information finagling family who all happen to be private investigators too. But for Izzy, being a private investigator is more than just a job, it's an obsession. So when a new neighbor moves in who seems to have too many locked doors and only vague answers, Izzy's inner snoop goes into hyperdrive.

Also, Izzy's best friend and brother are hiding their dirty laundry from the family, creating an insatiable itch in Izzy that needs to be scratched. If that wasn't enough, Izzy's younger sister Rae decides to take an almost stalker-like interest in Investigator Henry Stone, Izzy's "best friend".

After Izzy's fourth arrest in three months (yes, I said fourth), she finds herself recounting the events of the previous months to her lawyer in an effort to establish her defense and keep her out of jail. This is the point where we find Izzy at the beginning of "Curse of the Spellmans" as she recounts the twisted and poorly executed (by Izzy, not the author) sequence of events that befell her despite her good intentions.

Lutz easily surpasses her entertaining first book, "The Spellman Files", taking the story of Izzy and her family to a new level. Her "screenplay" writing style makes this book an effortless read as the dialogue and action flow along. The first person narrative gives unique insight into Izzy's thoughts and really amplifies the quirkiness of the story, making the novel a joy to read.

Lutz delves even further into the character development in this book, enriching the story line and creating a strong connection between the reader and the characters. An interesting feature of the series is Lutz's use of footnotes (yes, footnotes!).
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