Long Time No See

( 5 )

Overview

It's been twenty years, and Judith's life has definitely changed. Now a history professor and a widow, she hasn't seen Nelson Sharpe of the Nassau County Police Department in all that time. But she still can't get her one-time lover out of her head. Her life takes an unexpected turn, however, when former investment banker turned suburban mommy extraordinaire Courtney Logan vanishes from Long Island into thin air.

Everyone suspects husband, Greg, the darkly handsome son of flashy...

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Long Time No See

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Overview

It's been twenty years, and Judith's life has definitely changed. Now a history professor and a widow, she hasn't seen Nelson Sharpe of the Nassau County Police Department in all that time. But she still can't get her one-time lover out of her head. Her life takes an unexpected turn, however, when former investment banker turned suburban mommy extraordinaire Courtney Logan vanishes from Long Island into thin air.

Everyone suspects husband, Greg, the darkly handsome son of flashy Long Island mobster Fancy Phil Lowenstein. Ever the good neighbor, Judith offers her services to Greg, but he shows her the door, thinking she's just a nut. His father, however, isn't so sure — he just may have other plans for the wily Judith...

With Courtney Logan's dramatic disappearance, all eyes turn instantly toward her husband, Greg Logan, son of Long Island mobster Philip "Fancy Phil" Lowenstein. But since there is no body, there is no arrest. Then, in the less-than-merry month of May, Judith comes home from work, turns on the radio, and hears the Logans' pool man telling a reporter that he opened the pool and found ... a raccoon? Not quite...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
In 1978, Susan Isaacs made a memorable debut with Compromising Positions, a wickedly funny novel that functioned both as a murder mystery and a sharply observed comedy of manners. That debut novel introduced Judith Singer, a discontented 35-year-old housewife whose love of mysteries, both fictional and real, leads her to investigate the unsolved murder of a philandering Long Island periodontist.

Long Time No See is Judith's long-overdue return engagement, and I'm pleased to report that she's as likable, acerbic, and insatiably curious as ever.

A great deal has changed in Judith's life since her initial appearance. Her husband is dead, felled by a heart attack after successfully completing the New York City Marathon. Her children have grown and lead independent lives. And she herself now teaches history at a college in neighboring Queens. Her life is quiet, orderly, and essentially unfulfilled. But all this changes when a prominent Shorehaven neighbor disappears, setting the stage for Judith's second encounter with murder and mayhem on Long Island.

The story begins when Courtney Logan -- a wealthy housewife and former investment banker -- walks out of her house on Halloween night and vanishes without a trace. By the time Courtney's body surfaces, several months later, Judith has developed an obsessive fascination with the case and proceeds to launch an investigation of her own, leading her into the world of organized crime -- and some previously unsuspected corners of Courtney Logan's life. It also leads to a romantic reencounter with the lover she renounced more than two decades before: Nassau County homicide investigator Nelson Sharpe.

The central mystery is satisfying and cleverly constructed, but -- as in Compromising Positions -- the real heart of the novel is Judith Singer herself. Judith's voice -- filled with unsentimental reflections on her own less-than-perfect history and with trenchant observations on the people, places, and events that surround her -- is witty, intelligent, and consistently engaging, and gives this novel its distinctive, idiosyncratic flavor.

It's wonderful to have Judith back -- "long time no see," indeed -- and I hope to encounter her again before another 20 years have gone by. (Bill Sheehan)

People Magazine
"Hilarious satire of suburbia"
New York Times Book Review on RED WHITE AND BLUE
“A big, fat, happy feast of a book…[Isaacs’] most confident and appealing.”
Entertainment Weekly on Isaac's previous work
“Isaacs delivers witty, wicked satire from begining to end.”
People on Isaac's previous work
“Murder, sex, and humor make for a wickedly entertaining combination.”
Rocky Mountain News
“It’s nice to take refuge in a mystery that entertains rather than chills you to the bone.”
New York Times Book Review
“Isaacs’ pitch is perfect.”
Sun-Sentinel [South Florida]
“Isaacs is a shrewd and witty observer of contemporary life.”
New York Time Book Review
“A big, fat, happy feast of a book…[She] is both funny and piercing, a highly satisfying combination.”
People magazine
"Hilarious satire of suburbia"
The Boston Globe
"Jam-packed with wry observations and Judith's entertaining foibles, [LONG TIME NO SEE] is good fun."
Booklist
A gripping plot and plenty of tart humor make this sequel every bit as entertaining as its predecessor.
Washington Post Book World
Intimate, irreverent and revealing. Girl talk at its best.
New York Time Book Review
A big, fat, happy feast of a book...[She] is both funny and piercing, a highly satisfying combination.
Boston Globe
Jam-packed with wry observations and Judith's entertaining foibles, [LONG TIME NO SEE] is good fun.
People Magazine
Hilarious satire of suburbia.
Rocky Mountain News
It's nice to take refuge in a mystery that entertains rather than chills you to the bone.
Publishers Weekly
The 20 years between Isaac's bestselling Compromising Positions and this second book to feature amateur sleuth Judith Singer have not affected the author's talent for snappy dialogue and astringent assessments of cant and pretension. In those two decades, Judith has raised two children, lost her husband, achieved a doctorate in history and is teaching (without much satisfaction) at a local college. When her Long Island neighbor, ex-investment banker and perfect mom Courtney Logan, goes missing, Judith become curious; and when Courtney turns up dead, and the husband is accused, she becomes downright obsessed. Greg Logan, it turns out, is the son of notorious gangster Fancy Phil Lowenstein, who arrives on Judith's doorstep with an offer to hire her to help his son. Naturally, her former lover, Lt. Nelson Sharp of the Nassau County Police Department, admonishes Judith to mind her own business, but she pursues her hunch that brilliant and beautiful Courtney seemed to be missing a certain "something" that no one could put a finger on. Judith suspects the key to the crime lies in the victim's character. How right she is! However, the real trouble with Courtney is that she's not very interesting, even at her worst, and Judith's investigation, despite several clever twists, goes on too long, as does the murderer's bizarre confession. But an upbeat ending will satisfy readers, and it suggests that it won't be 20 years before we encounter Judith Singer again. Agent, Owen Laster. (Sept.) Forecast: The major book clubs see big sales for this title: it's a main selection for BOMC and Mystery Guild, and an alternate for Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club. A 10-city author tour and Isaac's wittyripostes on talk shows should whip up interest. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Slim, blond, and missing since Halloween, Courtney Logan had been a Wall Street whiz until she married Greg and became the stay-at-home mom of two adorable children. Now the daffodils are up and the pool man has just found her floating corpse. As Judith Singer, Isaacs's irresistible heroine (Compromising Positions), might say: what gives? The obvious suspect: Courtney's husband Greg, the son of a beefy, belligerent Jewish gangster, Fancy Phil Lowenstein, who knows all about getting rid of "problems." Or was it Steffi, the mousy au pair? Recently widowed Judith has plenty of time on her hands and delves in. She decides to investigate on her own, posing (improbably) as an amateur historian, but is soon hired by Fancy Phil to dig up information for him too. (He don't want to talk to no cops, but he knows his son didn't kill no wife.) There was some funny business about money: Courtney took thousands out of a joint account to put into her business, StarBaby, a videotaping service for affluent tykes with busy parents who want to cherish every childhood moment even if they aren't around to witness it firsthand. But Greg coulda used that dough for his business, Phil points out. Judith listens to it all and proceeds to interview everyone who knew Courtney, finding that no one seemed to really know her at all. Judith's ex-lover, Nelson, formerly a cop and now a detective, warns her to stay away from Phil and leave the sleuthing to the pros, but does Judith listen? Of course not. They rekindle their romance in awkward, very amusing fits and starts, as Judith tracks down evidence of insider trading scams, offshore bank accounts, and switched identities . . . and finds the killerat last. Isaacs does it again: skewering the pretensions of upscale suburbanites and in a tender, funny romance. The mystery? On the light side and none too plausible-but, really, who cares?
People
“Murder, sex, and humor make for a wickedly entertaining combination.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Isaacs delivers witty, wicked satire from begining to end.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061030437
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 962,623
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 4.24 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Isaacs

Susan Isaacs is the bestselling author of eleven novels, two screenplays, and one work of nonfiction. She lives on Long Island.

Biography

Susan Isaacs, novelist, essayist and screenwriter, was born in Brooklyn and educated at Queens College. After leaving school, she worked as an editorial assistant at Seventeen magazine. In 1968, Susan married Elkan Abramowitz, a then a federal prosecutor. She became a senior editor at Seventeen but left in 1970 to stay home with her newborn son, Andrew. Three years later, she gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. During this time she freelanced, writing political speeches as well as magazine articles. Elkan became a criminal defense lawyer.

In the mid-seventies, Susan got the urge to write a novel. A year later she began working on what was to become Compromising Positions, a whodunit set on suburban Long Island. It was published in 1978 by Times Books and was chosen a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Her second novel, Close Relations, a love story set against a background of ethnic, sexual and New York Democratic politics (thus a comedy), was published in 1980 by Lippincott and Crowell and was a selection of the Literary Guild. Her third, Almost Paradise, was published by Harper & Row in 1984, and was a Literary Guild main selection; in this work Susan used the saga form to show how the people are molded not only by their histories, but also by family fictions that supplant truth. All of Susan's novels have been New York Times bestsellers. Her fiction has been translated into thirty languages.

In 1985, she wrote the screenplay for Paramount's Compromising Positions, which starred Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia. She also wrote and co-produced Touchstone Pictures' Hello Again. The 1987 comedy starred Shelley Long and Judith Ivey.

Her fourth novel, Shining Through, set during World War II, was published by Harper & Row in 1988. Twentieth-Century Fox's film adaptation starred Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith. Her fifth book, Magic Hour, a coming-of-middle-age novel as well as a mystery, was published in January 1991. After All These Years was published in 1993; critics lauded it for its strong and witty protagonist. Lily White came out in 1996 and Red, White and Blue in 1998. All the novels were published by HarperCollins and were main selections of the Literary Guild. In 1999, Susan's first work of nonfiction, Brave Dames and Wimpettes: What Women Are Really Doing on Page and Screen, was published by Ballantine's Library of Contemporary Thought. During 2000, she wrote a series of columns on the presidential campaign for Newsday. Long Time No See, a Book of the Month Club main selection, was published in September 2001; it was a sequel to Compromising Positions. Susan's tenth novel is Any Place I Hang My Hat (2004).

Susan Isaacs is a recipient of the Writers for Writers Award and the John Steinbeck Award. She serves as chairman of the board of Poets & Writers and is a past president of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle, The Creative Coalition, PEN, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the International Association of Crime Writers, and the Adams Round Table. She sits on the boards of the Queens College Foundation, the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Association, the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and is an active member of her synagogue. She has worked to gather support for the National Endowment of the Arts' Literature Program and has been involved in several anti-censorship campaigns. In addition to writing books, essays and films, Susan has reviewed books for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and Newsday and written about politics, film and First Amendment issues. She lives on Long Island with her husband.

Biography courtesy of the author's official web site.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Isaacs:

"My first job was wrapping shoes in a shoe store in the low-rent district of Fifth Avenue and saying ‘Thank you!' with a cheery smile. I got canned within three days for not wrapping fast enough, although I suspect that often my vague, future-novelist stare into space while thinking about sex or lunch did not give me a smile that would ring the bell on the shoe store's cheer-o-meter."

"I constantly have to fight against the New York Effect, an overwhelming urge to wear black clothes so everyone will think, Egad, isn't she chic and understated! I'm not, by nature, a black-wearing person. (I'm not, by nature, a chic person either.) I like primary colors as well as bright purple, loud chartreuse, and shocking pink. And that's just my shoes."

"I'm not a great fan of writing classes. Yes, they do help people sometimes, especially with making them write regularly. But the aspiring writer can be a delicate creature, sensitive or even oversensitive to criticism. I was that way: I still am. The problem begins with most people's natural desire to please. In a classroom situation, especially one in which the work will be read aloud or critiqued in class, the urge to write something likable or merely critic-proof can dam up your natural talent. Also, it keeps you from developing the only thing you have is a writer -- your own voice. Finally, you don't know the people in a class well enough to figure out where their criticism is coming from. A great knowledge of literature? Veiled hostility? The talent is too precious a commodity to risk handing it over to strangers."

"Writing is sometimes an art, and it certainly is a craft. But it's also a job. I go to work five or six days a week (depending how far along I am with my work-in-progress). Like most other people, there are days I would rather be lying in a hammock reading or going to a movie with a friend. But whether you're an artist or an accountant, you still have to show up at work. Otherwise, it is unlikely to get done."

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    1. Hometown:
      Sands Point, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 7, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      Honorary Doctorate, Queens College
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from

Chapter One

On an unseasonably warm Halloween night, while I was reading a snappy treatise on Wendell Willkie's support of FDR's war policies and handing out the occasional bag of M&M's to a trick-or-treater, the fair-haired and dimpled Courtney Logan, age thirty-four, magna cum laude graduate of Princeton, erstwhile investment banker at Patton Giddings, wife of darkly handsome Greg, mother of five-year-old Morgan and eighteen-month-old Travis, canner of peach salsa, collector of vintage petit point, and ex-president of Citizens for a More Beautiful Shorehaven vanished from Long Island into thin air.

Odd. Upper-middle-class suburban women with Rolexes and biweekly lip-waxing appointments tend not to disappear. Though I had never met her, Courtney sounded especially solid. Less than a year before, there had been a page one feature in the local paper about her new business. StarBaby produced videos of baby's first year. "I thought it would succeed because I knew in my heart of hearts there were thousands just like me!" Courtney was quoted as saying. "It all started when Greg and I were watching a video we'd made of Morgan, our oldest. Fifteen minutes of Morgan staring at the mobile in her crib! A beautiful, intelligent stare, but still...After that, another fifteen of her sucking her thumb! Not much else. Suddenly it hit me that we'd never taken out the videocam for Travis, our second, until he was six months old!" (I've never been able to understand this generation's infatuation for using last names as first names. Admittedly it's a certain kind of name: you don't see little Greenberg Johnsons gadding about in sailor suits.) Anyhow, Courtney went on: "I was so sad. And guilty! Look what we'd missed! That's when I thought, it would be so great if a professional filmmaker could have shown up once a month and made a movie starring my son!"

Though not unmindful of the Shorehaven Beacon's aggressively perky style, I sensed Courtney Bryce Logan was responsible for at least half those exclamation points. Clearly, she was one of those incorrigibly upbeat women I have never been able to comprehend, much less be. She'd left a thrilling, high-powered job in Manhattan. She'd traded in her brainy and hip investment-banking colleagues for two tiny people bent on exploring the wonders inside their nostrils. And? Did even a single tear of regret slide down her cheek as she watched her children watching Sesame Street? Was there the slightest lump in her throat as the 8:11, packed with her Dana Buchman-suited contemporaries, chugged off to the city? Nope. Apparently, for can-do dames like Courtney, being a full-time mom was full-time bliss. Ambivalence? Please! Retirement was merely a segue into a new career, motherhood, another chance to strut their stuff.

However, what I liked about her was that she spoke about Shorehaven not just with affection but with appreciation, with familiarity with its history. Well, all right, with its myths. She mentioned to the reporter that one of the scenic backgrounds StarBaby used was our town dock. She said: "Walt Whitman actually wrote his two-line poem 'To You' right there!" In truth, Courtney was just perpetuating a particularly dopey local folktale, but I felt grateful to her for having considered our town (and our Island-born poet) important.

I think I even said to myself, Gee, I should get to know her. Well, I'm a historian. I have inordinate warmth for anyone who invokes the past in public. My working hours are spent at St. Elizabeth's College, mostly squandered in history department shriek-fests. I am an adjunct professor at this alleged institution of higher learning, a formerly all-female, formerly nun-run, formerly first-rate school across the county border in the New York City borough of Queens. Anyhow, for two and a half seconds I considered giving Courtney a call and saying hi. Or even Hi! My name is Judith Singer and let's have lunch. But like most of those assertive notions, it was gone by the end of the next heartbeat.

Speaking of heartbeats...Before I get into Courtney Logan's stunning disappearance and the criminal doings surrounding it, I suppose a few words about my situation wouldn't hurt. I am what the French call une femme d'un certain âge. In my case, the âge is fifty-four, a fact that usually fills me with disbelief, to say nothing of outrage. Nonetheless, although I still have the smooth olive skin, dark hair, and almond-shaped eyes of a mature extra in a Fellini movie, my dewy days are over. My children are in their twenties. Kate is a lawyer, an associate in the corporate department of Johnson, Bonadies and Eagle, a Wall Street firm whose founding partners drafted the boilerplate of the restrictive covenants designed to keep my grandparents out of their neighborhoods. Joey works in the kitchen of an upscale Italian deli in Greenwich Village making overpriced mozzarella cheese; he is also film critic for a surprisingly intelligent, near-insolvent Web 'zine called night.

As for me, I have been a widow for two years. My husband, Bob, the king of crudites, flat of belly and firm of thigh, a man given to barely suppressed sighs of disappointment whenever he saw me accepting a dessert menu from a waiter (which, okay, I admit I never declined), died at age fifty-five, one-half day after triumphantly finishing the New York Marathon in four hours and twelve minutes. One minute he was squeezing my hand in the emergency room, a reassuring pressure, but I could see the fear in his eyes. As I squeezed back, he slipped away. Just like that. Gone, before I could say, Don't worry, Bob, you'll be fine. Or, I love you, Bob.

Except when the love of...

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2007

    Totally Terrific!!

    Susan's books always get a lot of varied reviews -- this one is one of her BEST in my opinion. She is always refreshing but with some storylines a little more tasteful than others. All in all -- a fun read to be recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    Great follow up

    Would love to read another about Judith Singer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2001

    A Book I Couldn't Pick Up

    If it were not required reading for my book club (shame on us for this choice!), I would have tossed Long Time No See into the first recycling bin. I knew from the first few pages of canned, unrealistic dialog posing as 'witty repartee', that this was a dog I was going to have a rough road slogging through. Susan Isaacs takes forever getting to the point (with long-winded, just plain stupid subcontext), and then the point isn't even worth it! She repeatedly regurgitates the banal details of her heroine's murder investigation, perhaps to fill space where compelling, quality writing should have been. I did not but crack a smile at the inner musings of the novel's heroine, though Isaacs virtually begs readers for laughs, what with countless side steps into juvenile banter just a hair above potty humor. This book offers zero intrigue, few surprises, and a 'love story' as stale as last week's bread. Alas, it's a total waste of time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Engaging amteur sleuth tale

    Fifty-four years old St. Elizabeth College adjunct professor Judith Singer wonders why highly successful Courtney Logan vanished. The police and the Shorehaven Beacon believe the husband of the missing person killed her though no concrete evidence points towards him. Knowing how much she struggled with her perfect husband Bob until he died after running the New York Marathon two years ago, Judith is curious as to what happened to her neighbor. <P>Mobster Fancy Phil Lowenstein, father of the prime suspect, demands Judith find evidence clearing his son. Before she can start her investigation, former lover (pre Bob), Lieutenant Nelson Sharp of the Nassau County Police Department, tells Judith to stay out of the investigation. Still Judith is unable to resist looking into the disappearance of the perfect woman and supermom, perhaps because Courtney seems like a distaff Bob. Judith takes a different approach than that of the police thinking that the best starting point is from the overall character of the victim not the spouse. <P> After two decades Susan Isaacs provides her fans with the return of Judith, star of COMPROMISING POSITIONS, a novel I cannot remember whether I read or not, but plan to do so. LONG TIME NO SEE engages the reader due to Judith, a baby boomer struggling with growing old and a renewed interest in her former lover though like many novels in this sub-genre the reason to turn sleuth seems stretched. The story line is fun though the final confession meanders way too long. Still the audience will enjoy this tale and look forward to the Professor¿s next appearance. <P>Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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