Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Review of The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (2007, Simon and Schuster)
I ordered The Spellman Files as it had been described to me fitting into the ‘tart noir’ sub-genre. When the book arrived the cover conveyed ‘chick-lit’ and I wasn’t at sure the book would be to my taste. Thankfully the cover is somewhat misleading, especially since the main character, Izzy, is more likely to dress like a Nirvana fan than a lead character in Sex in the City. That said, The Spellman Files is kind-of Bridget Jones as private investigator. The result is a humorous tale of family in-fighting, failed romances, and a difficult cold case. The real strength of the book is the characterisation of idiosyncratic and somewhat dysfunctional Spellman family, who run a detective agency and know all manner of spying and tracking tricks, and their various interactions and escapades. The cold case Izzy is working on is interesting and has a nice resolution, and to provide context, Lutz slots in a lot of back story via a series of entertaining side tales. Overall, an enjoyable, well told story that is more than a chick-lit foray into crime fiction.