"On an unseasonably warm Halloween night, while I was reading a snappy treatise on Wendell Wilkie'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 Travis, canner of spiced pears, collector of vintage petit point, and ex-president of citizens for a more beautiful Shorehaven vanished from long island into thin air."
Judith Singer is back! After twenty years Susan Isaacs brings us back the heroine from Compromising Positions, her first and most beloved novel and returns to a great suspense story set in suburbia. Judith's life has changed. She now has her doctorate in history. Her workaday hours are spent at St. Elizabeth's College, mostly squandered in history department shriek-fests. She is also a widow. Her husband Bob died one half-day after triumphantly finishing the New York City Marathon in four hours and twelve minutes. And although twenty years have passed without seeing him, she still cannot get her former lover, Nelson Sharpe of the Nassau County Police Department, out of her system.
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. "I see, you know,it's a body! Jeez. Believe it or not, I'm still shaking." The woman in the pool turns out to be Courtney, and now it's officially homicide. And Judith comes alive! She offers her services to the police's chief suspect, Greg Logan, but he shows her the door, thinking her just another neighborhood nut. But his father isn't so sure: Fancy Phil may have other plans for her.
Long Time No See is Susan Isaacs at her wickedly observant best. With razor-sharp wit and an irresistible mystery, she brings us back in touch with an engaging, endearing and irreverent heroine we haven't seen in far too long.
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About the Author
Hometown:Sands Point, New York
Date of Birth:December 7, 1943
Place of Birth:Brooklyn, New York
Education:Honorary Doctorate, Queens College
Read an Excerpt
Chapter OneOn 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
Would love to read another about Judith Singer.
Love Susan Issacs! Can't believe I've never read her before. She managed to write a whodunit book that's not creepy or grotesque. Sometimes I'm reading it not even caring who was the murderer, as long as I got to read more about the crazy and funny characters. Even though the protagonist, Judith Singer, committed adultery, Isaacs made me unwilling to judge her too harshly. Judith's neurotic musings and one-liners kept the book at a brisk pace and made it such a good lunchtime read. Must get more of her books.
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.
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. 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. 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. Harriet Klausner