Survival Instincts

Overview

No sex. No noshing. No bills. What else can a fortysomething nonpracticing lawyer expect when she moves back in with her mom? For Nina Fischman, things could be worse. At least Nina is out of L.A. and back in New York, where there's always something exciting to do - like go to the funeral of an ex-boyfriend in Park Slope. By the time Nina and her mother, Ida, get to the dead man's brownstone, the funeral has turned into the Roz Brillstein show. It's hard to believe that Roz, flamboyant, artsy, and sexually ...
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New York, NY 1997 Hard cover very good dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 224 p. Nina Fischman Mysteries. Audience: General/trade. read once: my-posted-9/14-my-

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Overview

No sex. No noshing. No bills. What else can a fortysomething nonpracticing lawyer expect when she moves back in with her mom? For Nina Fischman, things could be worse. At least Nina is out of L.A. and back in New York, where there's always something exciting to do - like go to the funeral of an ex-boyfriend in Park Slope. By the time Nina and her mother, Ida, get to the dead man's brownstone, the funeral has turned into the Roz Brillstein show. It's hard to believe that Roz, flamboyant, artsy, and sexually accomplished, was ever married to stolid Andy Campbell, a hardworking research scientist who died by ingesting poison. Andy had been doing experiments on guinea pigs - in search of a herpes vaccine - when he was murdered. Roz, whose history of extramarital activities soon has Nina in awe, is hardly grieving-widow material. But who killed Andy? Nina and Mama Ida collect suspects the way some women pick out shoes - after all, suspicion is a natural Fischman gift. But quickly their uninvited investigation leads them to an animal rights organization called SPASM, headed by a man of unbearably good looks, and an odd real estate deal between Andy Campbell and Nina's brother-in-law, the dermatologist. With a running dialogue between Nina, her newly liberated sister, and her ever-resourceful mother, the Fischman women are soon hot on the killer's trail. You can say this much about an untimely death: it can give a girl a life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Nina Fischman's fifth outing (following Alternate Sides), the neurotic, Manhattan-based lawyer, having just ended a relationship and returned to the city from L.A., suffers the indignity of moving in with her mother on the Upper West Side. While Nina is figuring out what to do with the rest of her life, Andy Campbell, a brilliant research scientist, is murdered, apparently poisoned, and Nina's brother-in-law, Ken, is under the slightest suspicion. Throwing herself into finding the killer gives Nina an excuse to postpone her job search, even if it means spending time in one of the dreaded outer boroughs, in this case, Brooklyn. A large life insurance policy casts suspicion on the widow, while a complex clause in a real estate partnership is what makes Ken look plausible. A radical animal rights group called SPASM (Society for the Protection of All Small Animals) is in the running, too-they had previously threatened Andy because of his lab work with guinea pigs. Piesman conveys a real passion for urban life, although readers who don't know the neighborhoods she describes will miss some of the inside jokes and readers who do know them them may question her accuracy. Her insights on the angst of giving up a parking place are right on target; her observations about widowhood and loss are not nearly as sharp, which keeps her tale generally engrossing but somewhat superficial. The writing is snappy but sets readers' ears buzzing-as though they were cornered at a cocktail party. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Nina Fischman's back from her abortive trek to L.A. with Jonathan Harris, sans man, sans job, sans pride (she has to move in with her mother, for crying out loud). But when her mild brother-in-law, Ken Rubin, is implicated in the poisoning of his real-estate partner, Andy Campbell, Nina (Alternate Sides, 1995, etc.) has herself another crime-solving gig, this time under cover of helping her successful "friend" Ellen Simon research a story for the New Yorker. Though there's nothing very mysterious about the case—Roz Brillstein, Andy's flashy widow, blames the animal-rights activists of SPASM (the Society for the Protection of All Small Mammals) who were protesting Andy's experiments with lab rats, though Andy's former partner, who became former after bedding down with Roz, looks equally suspicious—it does bring Nina together with dishy SPASM executive director Peter Slater ("even this guy's knuckles looked good"), give her a chance for a showdown with the killer and her no-nonsense mom, and leave her with her hair dyed and an unexpected new job.

As usual, the lame mystery is an excuse for some laugh-out- loud chatter and Piesman's uniquely astringent insights into family relations ("In Jewish families, people generally avoided saying anything nice to each other. It was some sort of incest taboo").

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385313582
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Series: Nina Fischman Series , #6
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

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