The Spellman Files
The Spellman Files
By Lisa Lutz
Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781416532408, 358pp.
Publication Date: February 1, 2008
Meet Isabel Izzy Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors but the upshot is she's good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family's firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people's privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.
Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who's become addicted to recreational surveillance ); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed Lost Weekends ). But when Izzy's parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy's new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there's a hitch: she must take one last job before they ll let her go a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.
"Fast-paced, irreverent, and very funny, The Spellman Files is like Harriet the Spy for grown-ups." -- Curtis Sittenfeld, author of The Man of My Dreams and Prep
"Hilarious. My enjoyment of The Spellman Files was only slightly undercut by my irritation that I hadn't written it myself. The funniest book I've read in years!" -- Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada and Everyone Worth Knowing
"The Spellman Files is hilarious, outrageous, and hip. Izzy Spellman, P.I., is a total original, with a voice so fresh and real, you want more, more, more. At long last, we know what Nancy Drew would have been like had she come from a family of lovable crackpots. Lisa Lutz has created a delicious comedy with skill and truth. I loved it." -- Adriana Trigiani, author of Lucia, Lucia and Big Stone Gap
"A spirited, funny debut...a rush of humor and chaos...casual, swift, and hip...A fresh story that works real issues through an offbeat premise." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A fun and irreverent debut." -- Entertainment Weekly
"Truly the funniest book I've read in years." -- Susan Elizabeth Phillips
"She's part Bridget Jones, part Columbo. Lisa Lutz's resilient P.I. Isabel Spellman emerges as a thoroughly unusual heroine in her delightful, droll debut novel." -- USA Today
"Irresistible.... Starts out funny and does not let up." -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Addictively entertaining." -- Glamour
"Isabel Spellman...the love child of Dirty Harry and Harriet the Spy." -- People