Trail of the Spellmans is the fifth book in the series featuring the smart, funny, and exceptionally eccentric Spellman family. Subtitled Document #5, the book features Isabel Spellman, the family's oldest daughter and the only child working full time in the their family-owned investigative firm.
The work aspects of the book focus on several cases that are unique in either the subjects or that the Spellmans find that that there really isn't anything to investigate. When two of the cases over lap, the family institutes "Chinese walls" to protect client confidentiality. As fans of this series already know, any secret between family members is an immediate signal for one or more of them to devise innovative ways to discover the truth.
Even more enjoyable is the dynamics of the Spellman family. The family home, which is also where the office is, has opened its doors to include an ex-con released from prison after falsely being convicted of murder, and Grandmother Spellman, a cranky and weight obsessed senior citizen. Everyone's interactions with Grandmother Spellman are hysterical, and the affect the Grandmother has on Isabel's mother is slyly humorous.
Along with the dysfunctional family fun and human interest stories from surveillance, Trail of the Spellmans includes several serious notes. Isabel is struggling to define what she wants from life, and faces an ethical business dilemma between the right thing to do and the rules of the business. To avoid spoiling the story, I will only say that all three of the Spellman children inch further towards adulthood in this book.
The Spellman series is one of my favorites, it is consistently delightful and enjoyable to read, and always offers a fresh perspective on something. You don't need to read the first four books to enjoy Trail of the Spellmans, but I can promise that if you haven't read them yet, you will once you finish this book!