By the Book @ Rogers Memorial Library

The Trail of the Spellmans, by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman family is back!  Isabel, Rae, David, and their private investigator parents, Olivia and Albert, are back in a new book by Lisa Lutz that is full of humor, eccentric characters and puzzling cases.  In The Trail of the Spellmans, Isabel, the perennial troublemaker and rule breaker, may just be the sanest member of the family.

Two years have passed since readers last visited the Spellmans.  Rae is now 20-years-old and in college.  David, the flashy lawyer, has become a schlumpy stay-at-home dad to Sydney.  Olivia has inexplicably taken up numerous hobbies, which include learning Russian, cake decorating, book clubs and crocheting.  Demetrius Merriweather (or “D”) has been freed from his unjust incarceration and now lives with the Spellman family and works for the agency.  Albert, who is keeping some secrets,  has been ordered by his physician to lose weight, so the whole family conspires to make him believe that he is eating the same delicious food that D prepares, while in reality he is getting the taste-free, low calorie version.  Isabel is living with Henry, while trying (and failing) to share some interests with him. Chess is just not her thing. Oh yes, Grandma Spellman — with her weight obsession and constant foul mood — moves in to the Spellman household, too.

Lutz throws a number of unusual cases into this mix.  The Spellman Agency is hired to watch a college student, who seems to be living a life of crime.  Isabel takes on a client who needs to have his stove, toaster, bathtub faucet and other parts of his house monitored on a regular basis.  Nothing is actually happening to his home, but knowing that Isabel patrols the house allows him to live his life.  A three-way investigation of a husband, wife and brother requires “Chinese Walls” to be instituted, so that nothing is shared between Isabel, Albert and Olivia.  This results in making an uncommunicative group of people even more difficult to deal with. The Spellman Agency is facing a crisis.

Why does baby Sydney refer to everything as a “banana”? Is there a reason why Rae is such an amazing negotiator?  Will Henry and Isabel ever have a real conversation?  You just have to read this latest installment to find out what happens to these endearingly messed-up characters.  Fans of Janet Evanovich will fall in love with the Spellmans.

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