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From Barnes & NobleThe 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)