Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz (hardcover, $25)

Izzy Spellman is a woman who refuses to grow up. She is the owner, by virtue of a hostile takeover, of her family's detective agency. She is the boss of her mother, Olivia, her father, Albert, her sister, Rae, and two non-family members, Demetrius ("D") and Vivien. A brother, David, is an over-qualified househusband. Throw Henry Stone, Izzy's ex-boyfriend, and Granny Spellman into the mix, and you have a soup made from funnybones.

Izzy is the narrator of the latest "document" in the Spellman family files. She is 35 years old, lives in the dumpy basement of her brother's house, flees when she thinks she may be asked to babysit Sydney, David and Maggie's 3-1/2-year-old daughter, and puts off dealing with the family finances in a way that would make Scarlett O'Hara proud.

Edward Slaytor was Izzy's financial backer in the purchase of the p.i. business. She also runs investigative errands for him, jogs with him (much to her displeasure), and is one of the few people who knows that he is battling early onset Alzheimer's.

It's a scattershot of cases that makes up "The Last Word." Edward needs a company vetted before advising its purchase. At the same time someone is trying to discredit Edward or his Alzheimer's has gotten out of hand. Olivia and Albert are reacting to Izzy's takeover with bad grace. Rae is angling to come back to the firm but as something called a "conflict resolution specialist." Vivien is fighting a disreputable moving company that cheated her. Demetrius is being furtive while baking up a storm. The computers are off their rockers. Sydney strongly disapproves of her aunt in an overly mature and imperious way.

So funny. So Izzy. And not just funny. In the end, very touching. Could this be the last Spellman installment? One can only wait and see.

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