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THE LAST WORD by Lisa Lutz


by Lisa Lutz

Pub Date: July 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4516-8666-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Now that she’s assumed control of her family’s detective agency (Trail of the Spellmans, 2012, etc.), Isabel Spellman finds that riding herd on the crazies she’s related to is no bed of roses.

Nobody, it seems, wants to play nice with Izzy. That’s not entirely surprising, given the whimsically dictatorial memos she’s flooded the office with since she assumed a controlling interest in Spellman Investigations. It isn’t bad enough that Edward Slayter, the venture capitalist who supplied the money to finance her hostile takeover, is beginning to lose his mind to Alzheimer’s and control of Slayter Industries to an unknown insider who’s clearly trying to implicate both him and Izzy in a money-laundering scheme; Edward insists on conducting his briefing sessions with Izzy while they’re jogging three times a week. Izzy’s brief stint undercover at Divine Strategies, a religious-software firm Edward’s looking to buy, discloses secrets unbecoming its avowed mission. When part-time Spellman employee Vivien Blake’s determination to sue the Lightning Fast Moving Company for overcharging her and damaging her stuff gets thwarted by the movers’ highly predictable stonewalling, Izzy’s kid sister Rae proposes a new strategy: conflict resolution, formerly known to the uninitiated as vigilante justice. Maggie Mason, the pro bono lawyer married to Izzy’s brother, David, is working for the release of Louis Myron Washburn, who may be guilty of every felony in the Bay Area except for the robbery and murder he was convicted of 12 years ago. And serious illness lurks right around the corner for one of the Spellmans, although serious crime once again pretty much leaves them alone.

Another fizzy round of Mystery Lite with the cast of You Can’t Take It with You off their meds. Izzy seems even more dissociated than in her previous five outings, though fans will either cheer or not notice.