cover image Alternate Sides

Alternate Sides

Marissa Piesman. Delacorte Press, $19.95 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-385-31355-1

Quintessential New Yorker, lawyer Nina Fischman, last seen in Close Quarters, pursues another murder investigation in her fifth appearance. Her boyfriend Jonathan becomes a suspect in the death of his doorman, who was murdered while moving Jonathan's car to comply with the city's arcane parking regulations. While using the investigation as distraction from such personal issues as whether she should leave her beloved West Side to move in with Jonathan in his charmless East Side high-rise, Nina, aided by her mother, Ida, uncovers a pimping operation operated by Mundo,the mailman who delivers to Jonathan's building. City politics enters the plot when Nina and Ida suspect that a high-ranking official may be be stalking one of Mundo's girls. Nina applies for a job in the politician's office, receives a marriage proposal, brokered by an unexpected source, and news that if her romance is to bloom, it may have to be somewhere well west of the Hudson. Piesman's smart, frenetic Jewish-lawyer heroine can be very funny, but her urban, single-woman crises have a one-note quality and finally overburden this plot, which descends to an anticlimactic close. (Aug.)