Curse of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #2)

Curse of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #2)

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Overview

In this sidesplittingly funny follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The Spellman Files, San Francisco’s own highly functioning yet supremely dysfunctional family of private investigators are back on the case in another mystery full of suspicion, surveillance, humor, and surprise from award-winning author Lisa Lutz. Curse of the Spellmans was nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Macavity Award, and the Izzy Spellman Mysteries have earned comparisons to everything from Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich to Veronica Mars and Bridget Jones.

When Izzy Spellman, PI, is arrested for the fourth time in three months, she writes it off as a job hazard. She’s been (obsessively) keeping surveillance on a suspicious next door neighbor (suspect’s name: John Brown), convinced he’s up to no good—even if her parents (the management at Spellman Investigations) are not.

When the (displeased) management refuses to bail Izzy out, it is Morty, Izzy’s octogenarian lawyer, who comes to her rescue. But before he can build a defense, he has to know the facts. Over weak coffee and diner sandwiches, Izzy unveils the whole truth and nothing but the truth—as only she, a thirty-year-old licensed professional, can.

When not compiling Suspicious Behavior Reports on all her family members, staking out her neighbor, or trying to keep her sister, Rae, from stalking her “best friend,” Inspector Henry Stone, Izzy has been busy attempting to apprehend the copycat vandal whose attacks on Mrs. Chandler’s holiday lawn tableaux perfectly and eerily match a series of crimes from 1991–92, when Izzy and her best friend, Petra, happened to be at their most rebellious and delinquent. As Curse of the Spellmans unfolds, it’s clear that Morty may be on retainer, but Izzy is still very much on the case...er, cases—her own and that of every other Spellman family member.

Lisa Lutz brings her trademark wit and humor back in what Publishers Weekly calls a “sparkling sequel.” (Re)meet the Spellmans, a family in which eavesdropping is a mandatory skill, locks are meant to be picked, past missteps are never forgotten, and blackmail is the preferred form of negotiation—all in the name of unconditional love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743571265
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: 03/11/2008
Series: Spellman Files Series , #2
Edition description: Abridged
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lisa Lutz is the author of The New York Times bestselling, Edgar- and Macavity-nominated, and Alice Award-winning Spellman Series. She is the author of Heads You Lose, written with David Hayward, and most recent the New York Times bestselling Trail of the Spellmans. She lives and works in California.

Ari Graynor's theater credits include Little Dog Laughed, Brooklyn Boy, Dog Sees God, Spanish Girl, Fall, King Lear, and Into the Woods. Films include For Your Consideration, The Great New Wonderful, Game 6, Imaginary Heroes, and Mystic River. On television, she has appeared in Veronica Mars, The Sopranos, and Law & Order: SVU.

Read an Excerpt

Curse of the Spellmans 1900 hrs
“Hello?”

“Hi, Mom.”

“Who is this?”

“Isabel, and don’t ask me again.”

“Who?”

“Mom, it’s really not funny when you do it.”

“Seriously, who is this?”

“I don’t have time for your games right now.”

“Neither do I,” said Mom, finally dropping the amnesia act. “I’ll call you in a few days.”

“Don’t hang up!!!” I shouted into the receiver.

“Isabel, calm down.”

“Just don’t hang up.”

“Why not?”

“Because . . . I only get one phone call.”

Reading Group Guide

An Introduction to Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

"My mother used to say that if you can't verify a man's existence, you probably shouldn't go home with him." — Isabel Spellman, Curse of the Spellmans

Isabel "Izzy" Spellman — everyone's favorite female PI and the madcap heroine of the uproarious New York Times bestseller The Spellman Files — is back, and she's just been sprung from jail for the fourth time in three months. When she finds herself homeless and simultaneously barred from the Spellman offices-cum-residence by a very inconvenient temporary restraining order, Izzy meets with Mort Schilling, her octogenarian lawyer, to hammer out a defense and save her now endangered PI license. Over San Francisco's best New York-style deli fare, Izzy recaps the highlights of her recent past and her encounters with the man whose villainy she's determined to unveil — even if she must break the law to do it.

When Izzy first met John Brown, she couldn't have been more pleased with Spellman Investigations' new neighbor. Handsome in a way reminiscent of her favorite Hitchcock actor,* a great cook, and interested in her, John was too good to be true, so Izzy did what any sensible Spellman would do — she began to investigate him. But between his "so common, too common, conveniently common" name, his curious reluctance to let her rifle through his wallet, and the permanently locked room in his apartment, Izzy can't get the information she needs for a background check. "His kiss made me forget everything," she admits, but — forced to rely solely on her gut instincts — Izzy concludes that he is up to no good.

John Brown soon becomes "Subject" and Izzy's infatuation quickly turns to obsession — of the nonromantic variety — when she bumps into him as he's depositing his recycling and observes that "For a gardener, he sure shreds a lot of paper." Izzy finds her suspicions validated when further surveillance reveals Subject participating in two clandestine package exchanges. However, Subject proves to be as wily as Izzy is persistent, and soon both the law and her parents are siding with him and trying to put a stop to her snooping.

To further complicate matters, ferreting out Subject's crimes isn't the only unpaid investigation that Izzy is working. A peculiar family on the best of days, the Spellman clan is outdoing itself in the erratic behavior department, so much so that Izzy finds herself writing up Suspicious Behavior Reports on each member — even her brother, David, a normally boring specimen of male perfection — hoping to figure out why everyone around her is acting so nutty. Her hitherto health-phobic dad is surreptitiously toting around a yoga mat and eating oatmeal, her mother is making midnight forays to vandalize a motorbike, and David has been moping and indulging in midday whiskey-tippling while his wife, Petra, suddenly goes out of town. Only Izzy's teenage sister seems to be herself. But since "normal" for Rae means that she's recently run over her forty-year-old police inspector and "best friend," Henry Stone, Izzy finds herself posing as Henry's fiancée to allay the fears of a nosy social services worker. To cap it all off, someone is reprising Izzy's most creative juvenile vandalism and the victim hires Spellman Investigations to find the culprit.

Curse of the Spellmans is a laugh-out-loud escapade that marks the much-anticipated return of detection's most winning dysfunctional family and confirms Lisa Lutz as one of today's finest comic writers because whenever Isabel Spellman** is on the case hilarious high-jinks are never far behind.

*Joseph Cotton.
**Or Izzy Ellmanspay — depending upon which business card she's using.

Discussion Questions:

1. Is Henry only interested in Rae's welfare or are there other reasons he's let himself become a de facto Spellman?

2. Why should Subject's complimentary remarks about Izzy's haircut tip her off that he probably isn't the right man for her?

3. Does Izzy jump the gun on her suspicions? Would you feel comfortable dating someone as private as Subject?

4. Does Mrs. Spellman already sense Izzy's feelings for Henry when she asks Izzy to masquerade as his fiancée?

5. How could Izzy and Petra's Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day "modifications" of Mrs. Chandler's holiday tableaux be adjusted to make more of a political statement?

6. Are Rae's duplicitous e-mails to her vacationing parents entirely self-serving or do they actually help her parents' marriage?

7. What Spellman parenting techniques/aphorisms would you incorporate into your own child(ren)'s upbringing?

8. In which Olympic sport could you envision Izzy competing? Why?

9. What does Izzy's evolution from addictively watching Get Smart to Dr. Who say about her? Do you think Izzy will see the upcoming movie adaptation of Get Smart?

10. Other than professionally, in what ways do the Spellmans' suspicious natures and surveillance habits benefit them as a family?

11. Despite knowing her dating habits, both Mort and Daniel offer to set Izzy up romantically. Do you know someone — real or fictional — that you would like to introduce her to? Who is it and why do you think they would hit it off?

12. Imagine you're a bartender inventing the Izzy Spellman cocktail. What would be in it?

Introduction

An Introduction to Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

"My mother used to say that if you can't verify a man's existence, you probably shouldn't go home with him." — Isabel Spellman, Curse of the Spellmans

Isabel "Izzy" Spellman — everyone's favorite female PI and the madcap heroine of the uproarious New York Times bestseller The Spellman Files — is back, and she's just been sprung from jail for the fourth time in three months. When she finds herself homeless and simultaneously barred from the Spellman offices-cum-residence by a very inconvenient temporary restraining order, Izzy meets with Mort Schilling, her octogenarian lawyer, to hammer out a defense and save her now endangered PI license. Over San Francisco's best New York-style deli fare, Izzy recaps the highlights of her recent past and her encounters with the man whose villainy she's determined to unveil — even if she must break the law to do it.

When Izzy first met John Brown, she couldn't have been more pleased with Spellman Investigations' new neighbor. Handsome in a way reminiscent of her favorite Hitchcock actor,* a great cook, and interested in her, John was too good to be true, so Izzy did what any sensible Spellman would do — she began to investigate him. But between his "so common, too common, conveniently common" name, his curious reluctance to let her rifle through his wallet, and the permanently locked room in his apartment, Izzy can't get the information she needs for a background check. "His kiss made me forget everything," she admits, but — forced to rely solely on her gut instincts — Izzy concludes that he is up to no good.

John Brownsoon becomes "Subject" and Izzy's infatuation quickly turns to obsession — of the nonromantic variety — when she bumps into him as he's depositing his recycling and observes that "For a gardener, he sure shreds a lot of paper." Izzy finds her suspicions validated when further surveillance reveals Subject participating in two clandestine package exchanges. However, Subject proves to be as wily as Izzy is persistent, and soon both the law and her parents are siding with him and trying to put a stop to her snooping.

To further complicate matters, ferreting out Subject's crimes isn't the only unpaid investigation that Izzy is working. A peculiar family on the best of days, the Spellman clan is outdoing itself in the erratic behavior department, so much so that Izzy finds herself writing up Suspicious Behavior Reports on each member — even her brother, David, a normally boring specimen of male perfection — hoping to figure out why everyone around her is acting so nutty. Her hitherto health-phobic dad is surreptitiously toting around a yoga mat and eating oatmeal, her mother is making midnight forays to vandalize a motorbike, and David has been moping and indulging in midday whiskey-tippling while his wife, Petra, suddenly goes out of town. Only Izzy's teenage sister seems to be herself. But since "normal" for Rae means that she's recently run over her forty-year-old police inspector and "best friend," Henry Stone, Izzy finds herself posing as Henry's fiancée to allay the fears of a nosy social services worker. To cap it all off, someone is reprising Izzy's most creative juvenile vandalism and the victim hires Spellman Investigations to find the culprit.

Curse of the Spellmans is a laugh-out-loud escapade that marks the much-anticipated return of detection's most winning dysfunctional family and confirms Lisa Lutz as one of today's finest comic writers because whenever Isabel Spellman** is on the case hilarious high-jinks are never far behind.

*Joseph Cotton.
**Or Izzy Ellmanspay — depending upon which business card she's using.

Discussion Questions:

1. Is Henry only interested in Rae's welfare or are there other reasons he's let himself become a de facto Spellman?

2. Why should Subject's complimentary remarks about Izzy's haircut tip her off that he probably isn't the right man for her?

3. Does Izzy jump the gun on her suspicions? Would you feel comfortable dating someone as private as Subject?

4. Does Mrs. Spellman already sense Izzy's feelings for Henry when she asks Izzy to masquerade as his fiancée?

5. How could Izzy and Petra's Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day "modifications" of Mrs. Chandler's holiday tableaux be adjusted to make more of a political statement?

6. Are Rae's duplicitous e-mails to her vacationing parents entirely self-serving or do they actually help her parents' marriage?

7. What Spellman parenting techniques/aphorisms would you incorporate into your own child(ren)'s upbringing?

8. In which Olympic sport could you envision Izzy competing? Why?

9. What does Izzy's evolution from addictively watching Get Smart to Dr. Who say about her? Do you think Izzy will see the upcoming movie adaptation of Get Smart?

10. Other than professionally, in what ways do the Spellmans' suspicious natures and surveillance habits benefit them as a family?

11. Despite knowing her dating habits, both Mort and Daniel offer to set Izzy up romantically. Do you know someone — real or fictional — that you would like to introduce her to? Who is it and why do you think they would hit it off?

12. Imagine you're a bartender inventing the Izzy Spellman cocktail. What would be in it?

Although Lisa Lutz attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, the University of Leeds in England and San Francisco State University, she still does not have a bachelor's degree. Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping through a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting the screenplay Plan B, a mob comedy. After the film was made in 2000, she vowed she would never write another screenplay. A motion picture adaptation of The Spellman Files is in development with Paramount Pictures.

Customer Reviews

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Curse of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 153 reviews.
NookaholicIL More than 1 year ago
I love this series, but this is my favorite of the three I've read, so far. It's really out there as far as the story line and the characters. The writing is quite funny and I enjoyed it all throughout the series. My favorite recurring line is: "I have no idea what you're talking about." Read it and find out!!
bravewarrior More than 1 year ago
CD/abridged/Chick-Mystery: There are times I get an unbridged audio and wish it was abridged and then there are times I get an abridged and feel it is the right length. However, with the Spellman Files series I wish I had the unabridged. There is so much to like about this dysfunctional family that happens to be private detectives. Izzy is a lot like Stephanie Plum, only Izzy is a little smarter and less girly. I like that the endings aren't so predictable and not everyone is happily ever after. I did see the beginnings of a future love triangle forming in this one. This one starts with Izzy getting arrested for the fourth time in two weeks and the back-story to follow. It's really good stuff and I recommend it.
mjk44 More than 1 year ago
The second Spellman book is an absolute treat. You will laugh out loud as the author continues to build the colorful characters. Once you pick it up, you'll have a hard time putting it down. It's hard not to start anticipating the third book while you're still reading this one! This is a series that I hope lasts as long as Stephanie Plums!
Gator_Nurse_Practitioner More than 1 year ago
My friend bought me the first book in this series and I've been hooked ever since. The characters are hilarious, but they're crafted to be so human that they pull on your heartstrings. The flow of the plot and the writing style is unique and interesting, but you quickly get pulled into the story and start to enjoy the format. I'm not the type of person who usually laughs out loud, but the antics of the Spellman family had me cracking up!
mrsfozzy More than 1 year ago
a great series love the spellmans
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So worth the read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just discover Lisa, and I love this series. The Spellmans, though competent and great PIs are an act in and of themselves and take family dynamics to an all new level. The main character is both funny and slightly sad at the same tine- you are always rooting for her to get her act together.
Jay-Fer More than 1 year ago
The Spellman Files books are humorous, if predicatbale, but just a little too similar to the Stephanie Plum series to be called original. There is a different level of dysfunction with the Spellmans than there is with the Plums, and the Spellman females are, frankly, irritating even as fictional characters. The plot of this book is pretty easy to figure out if you can get past the outrageous behavior of the protagonist to actually pay attention to the plot. Her mother is no better, and her sister worse; by the end of the book you will have developed an empathty if not sympathy for those close to them...especially the ones who don't want to be but are having their lives disrupted anyway. Funny series though, easy reading, something light for when you're in that mood.
debruth More than 1 year ago
I read the first book and loved it! Since then I have bought all of them, they are hilarious, and great reads. I wish they had more intresting covers, I bought the first book on a whim, otherwise by just looking at the cover I would not have bought it and missed out a great author and her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick wit, seriously dysfunctional family, great dry humor. Is a feel good series.
Murmaid More than 1 year ago
Lisa Lutz has done it again. Can't help loving this crazy family.
CHARLOTTETX More than 1 year ago
I HAVE ENJOYED THIS SERIES AND WILL CONTINUE TO READ THEM.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Spellmans are quirky and hilarious.
enemyanniemae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My little mystery group decided to read Lutz's second title in the Spellman series for 2 reasons: 1. We read the first one in the series The Spellman Files and 2. It was in the bargain section. So we like cheap and familiar. Sue me.That being said, Lisa Lutz is a lunatic with a wild sense of humor and an obsession with footnotes. It was hilarious and mysterious, all at the same time. While I wanted to strangle the youngest Spellman in the first book, I have rather taken a like to the little witch (although I still might choke her a little if I hear "Shotgun!" one more time). The actual mystery (and yes, Virginia, there IS a mystery in this book) competed with several family mysteries... and all were resolved nicely. I enjoyed this book much more than I did the first. I listened to the first one and perhaps this is an author best savored in print rather than audio.I am looking forward to getting into the Spellmans again (I might not even wait for the next one to go to bargain). I recommend this author to fans of Janet Evanovich. Lutz is a very funny lady
bookwormteri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as rip roaring as the first in the series, but still a good comic novel. I was so blown away by the first one that it would be very difficult not to be disappointed by the second, no matter how good. A fun read.
C.Ibarra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was hilarious! I didn¿t like the ending though. It seemed strange to end such a funny book on a depressing note. I¿ll still check out the next book in the series though because Izzy and Rae are the type of characters you can¿t help but to get attached to.
Squeex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very good series, especially to listen to. Christina Moore is the perfect narrator for each of the voices, each and every dysfunctional character. Izzy is on a mission to find out what exactly her new neighbor is up to. She just knows in her gut that he is evil. She continues to surveill him even though each time out leads to her arrest one way or another. She's about to lose her license to be a PI if she doesn't stop. Izzy is engaged to her cop friend, much to both their dismay. It's to help out a family member. There's so much more going on, the story is told in backwards and forward time that took me some time to get used to, but it made sense as Izzy tells her tale like a normal person would...or at least how I would. You start to tell the story of something that happened and you remember that you should maybe start a little farther back to make the listener understand what led up to the current tale. You don't exactly start over, but you go back a little bit in time to complete the tale.The story made me laugh and enjoy my time with this crazy family. Five dysfunctional is fun beans....
knitwit2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Such a fun mystery. A family of private detectives. Our hero thinks that her neighbor is doing something illegal and drives the poor man crazy
BarbsReviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just love this series and wonder what other trouble Isabel can get into. The whole family is too funny and so dysfunctional, but you know they all love each other. I am about to start the 3rd installment and have heard it is funnier then the rest
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very funny follow-up to the Spellman Files. Izzy has been arrested four times and is consulting with her aged attorney Morty on her case, which prompts her to relate recent events in the Spellman family. If you want something lighthearted and funny, check out the Spellman family.
ctfrench on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Izzy Spellman works for her parents¿ private investigative service, where family members are acting strangely. Izzy¿s brother, David, a lawyer, has resorted to staying home, watching TV in his pajamas and eating junk food. Her father, Albert, is sneaking out of the house at all hours, returning with wet hair, while her mom, Olivia, is sneaking out of the house in early-morning hours and wreaking havoc on a motorbike. Her sister, Rae, runs over SFPD Inspector Henry Stone, her one and only friend. When a good-looking man moves in next door to her parents, Izzy intends to make him ex-boyfriend number 11. The two begin dating, but Izzy is intrigued by the man¿s common name, John Brown, and that he keeps a room in his apartment locked. Izzy decides to investigate Brown and becomes suspicious that she can¿t find out any real information concerning him. She manages to convince herself he¿s up to no good and begins following him and breaking into his apartment, which lands her in jail four different times, although she claims two don¿t count.The Spellmans are a hoot, and although this is considered a mystery, it¿s actually more about the characters and their interactions. This is a fast read, with short chapters, written from Izzy¿s point of view. The Stone and Spellman Show Episodes are hilarious and the footnotes are ingenious, as is the Appendix. A refreshing take on the mystery genre, and a book guaranteed to bring plenty of laughs.
jedziedz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lisa Lutz writes another fantastically fun novel filled with the fabulous Spellman family. All the family members are back and up to their old investigating tricks in this sequel to The Spellman Files. The plot was fast paced but didn't pack the emotional punch that first book had. I did enjoy the larger role of Henry Stone as Rae's best friend and (possibly?) Izzy's new love interest. Actually, my favorite parts of the novel were Henry, Rae, and Izzy hanging out together because the dialogue between them was hysterical. Overall, a great addition to the Spellman series and I can't wait to read #3.
carmarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lisa Lutz has done it again! Yet another can't-put-down, light, entertaining read! My only complain is that she spent a lot of time recapping a lot of things from the first book. But, once that was over, it was simply delightful. I love all of the characters, and can't wait for the third installment!
emania on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was just hilarity itself. It¿s the third book (possibly, unfortunately, the final book) in the Series, and it ties up any and all loose ends while carrying through with its own plot. There were scenes in here that made me laugh out loud so hard I was getting weird looks from people around me, and at least one scene that made me cry. Definitely recommend this book -- but not if you haven¿t read the other books in the series. If you have, I recommend you read the whole series...
-Eva- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had some hopes after reading the first book that Lutz would stop forcing her characters to be so hopelessly quirky (solely for the sake of "humor") and concentrate on the plot, but this one is even worse. And, Izzy now makes cutesy comments on her own dialogue(!). And the wildest thing she does is go out the window and down the fire escape rather than through the house and out the door and all the other characters just think she's so outrageous and craaazy. Tedious!