The Spellman Files #1

Author: Lisa Lutzspellmen
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: 2007
Genre: Humor, Mystery
ISBN: 9781416532392
Price: $25
Number of Pages: 353
Available Formats: Hardback, Paper back, E-book, Audio

Rating: 3Q, 3P

Links to Author’s Website and Interviews

Links to Reviews

Reader’s Annotation

A family full of P.I’s. What could possibly go wrong?

Plot Summary

This is a light-hearted book focuses on the Spellman family that owns a PI firm. The oldest daughter, Izzy, is the main character and the story is told from her point of view. It is very non-linear, with the story told mostly through flashbacks, focusing on her childhood and adult years working in the firm. We learn that Izzy has had a very troubled life, as she has had many run-ins with the law and was on a very destructive path until she realized that her little sister, Rae, was beginning to act like her. The bulk of the story is about the family’s shenanigans in spying on each other. The novel, however, is framed by Rae’s disappearance and Izzy is looking back on how it came to be.

Critical Evaluation

This book wasn’t quite what I expected. I had expected more of a mystery with eccentric characters, such as Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells series. However, the central mystery in this book is really non-existent. The story is really about the family and their relationships with each other. The book is extremely funny, but the character of Izzy began to wear thin on me after a while. I felt like her character didn’t develop as fast as I would like. Her character grows annoying and downright crazy toward the end of the book. I especially didn’t like her relationship with Daniel and how she was pretending to be something she wasn’t. I understood at first, but as they grew closer, I felt like it didn’t make sense to keep her profession a secret. The little sister was along similar lines in that I liked her at first but she began to grow more obnoxious as the novel progressed. Her antics were supposed to be funny but really just got on my nerves. However, I think it was a well-written book overall. It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, and that’s colored my opinion of it somewhat.

Appeal Factors

Funny, upbeat, fast-paced


The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot
One for the Money by Janet Evanovitch

Awards & Lists

Alex Award: 2008

Discussion Ideas

• Discuss the relationship between Izzy and Rae.
• Discuss Izzy as a character.
• Discuss the genre. Is the book really a mystery?

Justification of Selection

I’m not very familiar with mysteries and I wanted to try different ones out. This one caught my eye because of its humorous tone. It reminded me of Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells mysteries, which I loved.


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