Monday, April 20, 2009

Mystery Monday: Sequels Edition

Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz: I liked The Spellman Files, and liked the sequel, Curse of the Spellmans, even more. But the third entry, Revenge of the Spellmans, is the absolute best yet. Izzy Spellman has left her job in the family P.I. business in favor of a bartending gig. She's in court-ordered therapy after that "misunderstanding" that led to her violation of a restraining order (she has trouble letting go before an investigation is complete). She swears her car is always in a different place than she parked it. And she's squatting in her brother's basement. So she's not in the best place. She takes on a single case, a husband who wants to set his mind at ease about his wife's fidelity. It all seems routine: Linda, Ernie's wife, just meets with a friend, as she had told Ernie. But something seems off, and it's not long before Izzy has uncovered some very strange information about Linda. While I knew that learning to let go and stop obsessing over the case was probably best for Izzy, I really, really wanted her to keep obsessing because I wanted to know what the deal was with Linda and her friend Sharon. What's great about this entry is that Izzy has to grow up. She doesn't have to lose all her quirks or become less funny, but between the therapy, the threats by her parents to sell off the PI business, the imminent out-of-state move by her attorney/good friend, and her lack of a real home, something's got to give. Izzy grows a lot as a person, but she's no less entertaining. Rae, Izzy's teenaged sister, also has some growing to do, as she's embroiled in a PSAT cheating scandal and interfering (somewhat feloniously) in Henry Stone's current relationship. All the threads come together in an absolutely hilarious way that only Lutz can pull off. I highly recommend this series and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson: I've been reading Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear mysteries for years. I think they were my first cozy mysteries. Fatally Flaky is #15, and I had fun reading it, but the series is starting to lose some steam. We had murder-by-car-accident again (I think that was back in #2). Teenaged son Arch was barely there. Now he's annoying, but still, it was bizarre that he was MIA for almost the whole book. And Davidson gave Goldy a beloved godfather...who has never been mentioned once in the fourteen previous books, despite his huge influence on her life. That last one bugged me the most. The convoluted plots don't actually bother me--they're fun and campy, but I like internal consistency. That said, the recipes were great, the interaction with Boyd was hilarious, it was fun to see Julian so capable, and Tom was less constantly nagging about his wife's interference in investigations (perhaps he's given up). So it was fun, but not the best in the series, and I wonder how much longer Davidson can keep the series going.

1 comment:

Sheri S. said...

I've read the first two Spellman books in the series and now I especially can't wait to read the 3rd!! The books are so witty and funny. I look forward to seeing how they translate into a movie!