cover image Personal Effects

Personal Effects

Marissa Piesman. Pocket Books, $4.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-74275-1

Piesman's ( Unorthodox Practices ) animated dialogue and lively sense of the absurd help make attorney Nina Fischman's second try at sleuthing a noteworthy one, though her self-deprecating Jewish shtickper Web. wears thin after a while. Susan Gold, Nina's oldest friend, has moved back home to New York City to find a husband--a nice, stable one who wears a suit to work. What she gets is a man who strangles her during a trip to the Catskills. Since Susan was a fan of the personal ads, Nina, with the cooperation of James Williams, the detective on Nina's case, enters the personals market to see if she can attract the homicidal hiker and provoke him into striking again. She meets a couple of guys on a hiking club outing, but they lack ``that certain psychotic je ne sais quoi .'' Then Nina begins getting answers to her ad, and while she finds ``truth in advertising and full and fair disclosure to be somewhat alien concepts'' to these respondents, they do spice up the old social calendar. These men all have their idiosyncrasies, and Nina endures some strange dates to separate the men who think they're lady-killers from the one who really is. (Oct.)