Friday, March 11, 2011

For When You Need a Good Laugh

Another series I've been recommending to friends lately is the Spellman series, by Lisa Lutz.  These are mysteries, and the series begins with The Spellman Files, introducing the reader to Isabel Spellman, the messed-up private investigator daughter of two private investigators.  It continues with Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans, and The Spellmans Strike Again.  Its delightful wackiness left me in stitches, even after rereading each book several times.
You really do need to read these in order, even though Isabel, the narrator, thoughtfully inserts asterisked notes referring to the previous books.  A collection of characters as odd as they are interesting include an octogenarian Jewish lawyer who loves pastrami sandwiches, a disreputable uncle, and a straitlaced older brother who Isabel both detests and depends on.  Practically every character in this book is blessed (or cursed) with incurable nosiness; this extends to placing a closed-circuit camera over the pistachio bowl to figure out who is putting their shells back in.  And it gets worse, much worse.
The mysteries themselves are not complicated as much as they are byzantine in a bizarre sort of way; don't read these because you want a mental puzzle to solve.  You'll end up with a headache after navigating the intellectual roller-coaster ride on which Lutz takes her readers.  Red herrings are so abundant that you need crackers to go with the story.
These are really, really fun books -- read them when you are tired, depressed, sad, waiting in a waiting room, or on the train.  But don't blame me if, while reading them in public, people look at you strangely because you are chuckling to yourself.  Here's a link to Lutz's page:

No comments:

Post a Comment