cover image Close Quarters

Close Quarters

Marissa Piesman. Delacorte Press, $19.95 (247pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30538-9

Bronx-reared, Jewish and female, Nina Fischman, a Legal Services for the Elderly attorney, imbues her latest adventure with lively wit and brash humor. Spending a week at a Fire Island summer share with Cheryl Schneiderman, a bossy Housing Court litigator with a Red Queen voice and a ``heliotropic tendency,'' sun-spurning Nina is quickly confronted with murder when house organizer and master seducer Barry Adleman is killed by a poisoned motion-sickness patch. Nina's new love interest, neurotic and vulnerable Jonathan Harris, becomes prime suspect: Barry, a friend since high school, had slept with his wife, played around with his money and lost his Mad magazines. Nina believes that Jonathan, a vulnerable and neurotic Upper East Sider who thinks Jewish women are good in bed and doesn't care about a woman's weight, is a great catch, and she tries to clear him by finding the real murderer. Suspects abound in a household of two envious men and seven spurned women. But it isn't the mystery that entertains as much as the author's iconoclastic humor and accurate take on pushing-40 single New Yorkers. Coauthor of The Yuppie Handbook , Piesman ( Heading Uptown ) punctuates her narrative with the right zip codes and brand names. (Aug.)