cover image LONG TIME NO SEE


Susan Isaacs, . . HarperCollins, $26 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-06-019570-0

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 witty ripostes on talk shows should whip up interest.