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Judith Singer #2

Long Time No See

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The Barnes & Noble Review

In 1978, Susan Isaacs made a memorable debut with Compromising Positions ,
a wickedly funny novel that functioned both as a murder mystery and a sharply observed comedy of manners. That debut novel introduced Judith Singer, a discontented 35-year-old housewife whose love of mysteries, both fictional and real, leads her to investigate the unsolved murder of a philandering Long Island periodontist.

Long Time No See is Judith's long-overdue return engagement, and I'm pleased to report that she's as likable, acerbic, and insatiably curious as ever.

A great deal has changed in Judith's life since her initial appearance. Her husband is dead, felled by a heart attack after successfully completing the New York City Marathon. Her children have grown and lead independent lives. And she herself now teaches history at a college in neighboring Queens. Her life is quiet, orderly, and essentially unfulfilled. But all this
changes when a prominent Shorehaven neighbor disappears, setting the stage for Judith's second encounter with murder and mayhem on Long Island.

The story begins when Courtney Logan -- a wealthy housewife and former investment banker -- walks out of her house on Halloween night and vanishes without a trace. By the time Courtney's body surfaces, several months later, Judith has developed an obsessive fascination with the case and proceeds to launch an investigation of her own, leading her into the world of organized crime -- and some previously unsuspected corners of Courtney Logan's life. It also leads to a romantic reencounter
with the lover she renounced more than two decades before: Nassau County homicide investigator Nelson Sharpe.

The central mystery is satisfying and cleverly constructed, but -- as in Compromising Positions -- the real heart of the novel is Judith Singer herself. Judith's voice -- filled with unsentimental reflections on her own less-than-perfect history and with trenchant observations on the people, places, and events that surround her -- is witty, intelligent, and consistently engaging, and gives this novel its distinctive, idiosyncratic flavor.

It's wonderful to have Judith back -- "long time no see," indeed -- and I hope to encounter her again before another 20 years have gone by. (Bill Sheehan)

Audio Cassette

First published January 1, 2001

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About the author

Susan Isaacs

60 books441 followers
I was born in a thatched cottage in the Cotswolds. Oh, you want the truth. Fine. I was born in Brooklyn and educated at Queens College. After leaving school, I saw one of those ads: BE A COMPUTER PROGRAMMER! Take our aptitude test. Since I had nothing else in mind, I took the test-and flunked. The guy at the employment agency looked at my resume and mumbled, “You wrote for your college paper? Uh, we have an opening at Seventeen magazine.” That’s how I became a writer.

I liked my job, but I found doing advice to the lovelorn and articles like “How to Write a Letter to a Boy” somewhat short of fulfilling. So, first as a volunteer, then for actual money, I wrote political speeches in my spare time. I did less of that when I met a wonderful guy, Elkan Abramowitz, then a federal prosecutor in the SDNY.

We were married and a little more than a year later, we had Andrew (now a corporate lawyer). Three years later, Elizabeth (now a philosopher and writer) was born. I’d left Seventeen to be home with my kids but continued to to do speeches and the occasional magazine piece. During what free time I had, I read more mysteries than was healthy. Possibly I became deranged, but I thought, I can do this.

And that’s how Compromising Positions, a whodunit with a housewife-detectives set on Long Island came about. Talk about good luck: it was chosen the Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, auctioned for paperback, sold to the movies, translated into thirty languages, and became a bestseller. I was a little overwhelmed by the success. However, it’s hard to rise to a state of perpetual cool and go to slick downtown parties when you’re living in the suburbs with a husband, two kids, two dogs, and a mini-van, I simply wrote another book… and then another and another.

About half my works are mysteries, two fall into the category of espionage, and the rest are…well, regular novels. In the horn-tooting department, nearly all my novels have been New York Times bestsellers.

My kids grew up. My husband became a defense lawyer specializing in white collar matters: I call him my house counsel since I’m always consulting him on criminal procedure, the justice system, and law enforcement jargon. Anyway, after forty-five years of writing all sorts of novels—standalones—I decided to write a mystery series. I conceived Corie Geller with a rich enough background to avoid what I’d always been leery of—that doing a series would mean writing the same book over and over, changing only the settings.

I also produced one work of nonfiction, Brave Dames and Wimpettes: What Women are Really Doing on Page and Screen. I wrote a slew of articles, essays, and op-ed pieces as well. Newsday sent me to write about the 2000 presidential campaign, which was one of the greatest thrills of my life-going to both conventions, riding beside John McCain on the Straight Talk Express, interviewing George W. Bush. I also reviewed books for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Newsday. (My website has far more information about my projects than most people would want to know, but have a look.)

In the mid-1980s, I wrote the screenplay for Paramount’s Compromising Positions which starred Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia. I also wrote and co-produced Touchstone’s Hello Again which starred Shelley Long, Gabriel Byrne, and Judith Ivey. (My fourth novel, Shining Through, set during World War II became the 20th Century Fox movie starring Michael Douglas, Melanie Griffith and Liam Neeson. I would have written the script, except I wasn’t asked.)

Here’s the professional stuff. I’m a recipient of the Writers for Writers Award, the Marymount Manhattan Writing Center Award, and the John Steinbeck Award. I just retired (after over a decade) as chairman of the board of the literary organization, Poets & Writers. I also served as president of Mystery Writers of America. I belong to the National Book Critics Circle, the Creative Coalition, PEN, the Ameri

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5 stars
465 (22%)
4 stars
714 (34%)
3 stars
688 (33%)
2 stars
147 (7%)
1 star
48 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 169 reviews
Profile Image for Grace.
22 reviews5 followers
December 13, 2012
I love a good mystery with wonderful twists. And even though the reader finds out who the villian is before the end of the book, it is still every bit as enjoyable to read. Susan Isaacs brought back Judith Singer 20 years after she first introduced her in Compromising Positions, and she did a brilliant job in my opinion. Great read...would highly recommend!
Profile Image for Vicki.
188 reviews8 followers
September 7, 2017
"Judith Singer is back! After twenty years, Susan Isaacs brings us back the heroine from Compromising Positions, her first and most beloved novel..."

And the most exciting part of that back cover marketing for me? There is actually another novel with Judith that I can read cover-to-cover and LOVE.

This novel is just amazing. The story is so complex, yet Judith is so simple. And perfect. And messed up. Isaacs is a genius. Her descriptions of each character are beautiful and her writing is different from anything I've read. The closest I can come is another author I love, Maria Semple.

She describes the characters, large or small parts, in a way that makes my mouth water and gives me chills because it's just so good and so different:

"She had the voice of a more imposing woman, the contralto the Statue of Liberty would have if she could speak..."

"...with lackluster eyes and nostrils the diameter of the average garden hose, she wasn't particularly pretty..."

"In looks, she was the picture of good-natured simplicity, reminding me of the Strawberry Shortcake doll my daughter used to have...pinchable, fat cheeks and ridiculously red hair."

"...her deltoids rising, to say nothing of her triceps and biceps brachii. She was such a perfect specimen that, except for the covering of ehr dark brown skin, she might be the model for one of those charts of striated muscle the teacher pulls down in high-school biology."

If you, yourself, don't find genius there, read another book. You'll be missing out on this, complicated story-lines amazing enough that you'll think SHE did it, and self-depricating humor that will make you LOVE Judith Singer, make you wish YOU were her best friend, not Nancy.

Usually I am in to some sex - not here; some major gore - not here; something you wouldn't let your teenager pick up - not here. This is just pure good. I love it. LOVE it!

5 Stars and then some.
Profile Image for Jane.
2,681 reviews52 followers
July 17, 2019
My vote for the perfect mystery beach read goes to Susan Isaacs, whose books have terrific humor, pace and no pretension to be anything other than amusing. Thank you, Susan, for contributing to the mystery genre with a zaftig, sassy heroine from Long Island - your Judith is so much more fun than the patrician Nancy Drew or the wooly-but-needle-witted Miss Marple.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,903 reviews198 followers
January 11, 2018
I read Long Time No See soon after Compromising Positions; however, the sequel is set 15 years after the murder central to the first novel. By now, Judith Singer is no longer a desperate Long Island housewife; instead, she’s an adjunct professor at a small college and widowed. Daughter Kate has become a lawyer, and son Joey has grown from a preschooler into a film critic of sorts. But Judith’s not any more fulfilled than she was earlier. She’s just sleepwalking through life.

Until. Until a neighbor, the perky, perfectionist Courtney Logan, disappears just after trick-or-treating on Halloween 1999. Courtney tells the Austrian au pair that she’s off to pick up apples at the Grand Union … and is not seen again. Just as she had so many years ago, Judith is tantalized by this mystery. What became of this financier-turned-stay-at-home supermom? So many facets of the mystery don’t make sense, but Judith begins sleuthing once more. And readers will be so, so glad that she does. And will she cross paths with policeman Nelson Sharpe? We can only hope!

I can’t recommend this sequel enough: No sophomore slump here! Author Susan Isaacs has crafted a sequel as suspenseful a page-turner as the first in the series. Here’s to many more!
Profile Image for Elaine Cougler.
Author 9 books59 followers
August 15, 2016
This is a murder mystery but it still held my attention. It is told through a nosy-neighbor type who sifts through the data and solves the mystery. It was good but not great.
Profile Image for Judith.
1,505 reviews73 followers
July 30, 2020
Well now it's time for me to eat humble pie and here I go. Last month I reviewed Susan Isaacs' book "Compromising Positions" and criticized it for being stuck in the 70's. Here she writes the sequel and lo and behold the same old housewife has gone back to school, earned her doctorate, is out in the working world---her husband dead and her children grown. What a delightful character she is too! Her hobby is detective work and she's an amateur who ends up solving crimes the cops miss. She is very funny and very persistent---putting much more work into this hobby than many people devote to their full time jobs. And she's madly in love with a homicide detective that she met and started an affair with 20 years ago in the first book.

And why am I eating humble pie? Well, duh? In the 70's she wrote about a 70's housewife solving crimes for a hobby and she couldn't see into the future and write the 90's book in the 70's could she?
Just saying, I should have more patience with who women were before the revolution.
156 reviews
February 19, 2020
I've read a couple other Isaacs books that I really enjoyed. This was not my favorite. Although this is a 'sequel' of sorts, you certainly don't have to read Compromising Positions to enjoy this as a stand alone. Judith Singer, history professor, is now a widow & the affair she had 20 years ago with Nelson Sharpe, a cop, starts up again when she begins work on helping solve the murder of a neighbor's wife. Judith gets herself involved by being a nosy neighbor which is not believable as she 'interviews' the suspected husband, Greg Logan, because she thinks she can help. Greg's wife, Courtney, had vanished only to be found several months later dead in their swimming pool. But Greg's father, Phil Lowenstein, from the mob decides to hire her, also odd to me. Once past some of the non realistic parts, the mystery of the murder kept me interested & there are funny lines & parts throughout.
Profile Image for Liza.
472 reviews11 followers
April 7, 2013
I gave up on this mystery 75 pages from the end. The plot wasn't a page-turner, but the character development of the main character was quite entertaining. At least at first, then I noticed myself wishing I were further along in the book than I was. I gave up and really don't care why she went missing.
274 reviews
June 11, 2015
Disappointed. Didnt keep my attention. Seemed a bit farfetched. Not a lot of suspense. Plot was good but poorly executed.
Profile Image for Kayo.
2,388 reviews33 followers
February 28, 2020
Book seemed to go on forever. Liked the story, but it was a little toooo long.
Profile Image for Ted Tayler.
Author 62 books250 followers
February 21, 2020
"Well-developed mystery"

It feels a little dated now, but as mysteries go this was better than most. I realise that digging out an old book to read on the off chance you might read a series isn't a great policy. Maybe the books this writer has produced since are far better. Or maybe this was as good as it got. Based on this book alone I would hesitate before investing in a collection of titles.
Profile Image for Chana.
1,583 reviews144 followers
October 9, 2017
A widow who enjoys sleuthing gets involved in a neighborhood case of whodunit. When a woman who has been missing a number of months is found under the pool cover in her own pool the police make the easy assumption that the husband did it. Our widow, Judith, doesn't think so and starts her own investigation supported by the husband's gangster father and her, used to be a homicide investigator used to be her lover is still in the police department, friend. Unlikely, but hey, she solves the case.
It was funny to begin with but quickly lost its wit and became mostly boring.
568 reviews
December 15, 2016
This was a very strange book--well written--but strange nonetheless. It's about a middle aged history professor who reads about a murder and decides to investigate it, even to the point of interviewing the dead woman's husband. Who in their right mind would do something like that? If the dead woman was a friend or even an acquaintance, then maybe. But a total stranger? It was so illogical that I had a hard time finishing it.
Profile Image for Joanne.
190 reviews12 followers
March 27, 2018
Count on Susan Isaacs for a clever twist in a murder investigation. Also, her description of suburban high end family life - especially the women who chase perfection to extremes i.e. lining their powder room waste baskets with doilies - makes mocking fun! Did I say Long Island? Did I mention a Jewish Mob connection? Enjoyable pool read - It dates back to 2001 - looking for her more recent novels.
Profile Image for Dona.
1,177 reviews6 followers
September 26, 2014
Oh lord it took me forever to get through this book. I normally can’t put one of Susan Isaacs’ novels down but I really struggled with this one. This is an older novel of hers and a sequel to “Compromising Positions,” which I read eons ago and as best I can remember, really enjoyed. Ultimately my determination won out and I did finish it (Yippee) but it was a major accomplishment.
Profile Image for Nancy.
931 reviews2 followers
September 20, 2014
Judith Singer is back and after 20 years still wants Nelson Sharp who is now captain of an elite squad. He helps her solve the mystery of a dead woman, Courtney Logan, found in her swimming pool. I solved the mystery way to early, enjoyed the humor but felt the narrative was too repetitive.
Profile Image for Carolynne Raymond.
Author 6 books56 followers
September 1, 2019
This was a “Who done it” books with a secondary love story that brewed in the background. Judith, the main character, was the curious mind that had no business sticking her nose into an investigation. She was just a person who had read about the murder story in the news and had a passion for solving mysteries and this news article peaked her interest. She was able to pull herself in and was hired by a family member of the deceased, as a “sort of” private investigator. I found Judith a bit odd and not a personality I was drawn to. She was just too nosy for me and her humor was “ha ha” funny but did not cause real laughing. I also found the murder cover up a little far fetched because I don’t think any person could get access to some of the things that the guilty person did and found it hard to get drawn into the story because of that detail. I liked the love story within it. I liked how that particular story worked backwards. It was about a couple who had cheated and got away with it and eventually ended the affair and continued on with their lives only to get thrown in together years later because of common interests. For those who enjoy the who did it novels this is worth a read since I wasn’t able to figure it out and this book delivered that surprise that you crave for this genre.
Profile Image for Diane.
384 reviews
October 18, 2019
I’ve always been a bit of a fan of a Susan Isaacs novels. I thought Compromising Positions was a wee gem when it was published (it had a horrible inappropriate cover). This novel has Isaacs taking us back to the characters from Compromising Positions (Judith and Nelson). It is problem a 3 and 3/4 for me. M0re mellowed out than the previous book - like the character, it is a little jaded and downbeat at times, but with the persistence of its characters carrying it through. Judith is once again asking lots of questions and getting into uncomfortable situations but unable to stop herself in her search to find out. Nelson is still a cop but no longer in homicide. This is really Judith’s story, and it is rewarding to read about a bright 50 something woman using her skills (and inherent inquisitiveness) to go where others fear to tread. Isaacs books are funny in a wry smile rather than out loud laugh kind of way.
Profile Image for JKT.
49 reviews
December 13, 2019
I had read her 1987 mystery novel Compromising Positions back in the early 1990s, I think, and enjoyed it (plus the movie with Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia). Somehow I just recently discovered this 2002 sequel where now-widow-with-grown-children Judith Singer gets caught up in another Long Island murder mystery and also runs into old flame Police Detective Nelson Sharpe. I just find her character likeable and funny, and the unraveling of the mystery entertaining. Not highbrow literature but a good curl up on the sofa read.
572 reviews2 followers
May 26, 2020
Isaacs is still highly entertaining

I adore having my two favorite genres in one novel: mystery and humor. It doesn't happen very often, but I was delighted to find this book. I read the first Judith Singer novel right after it came out in paperback on a vacation and was glad I took a second book as I read Compromising Positions in mere hours. This Judith Singer novel was as entertaining as the first. The characters have aged well. It is not too often that I find such a literate, laugh-out-loud mystery. Write some more, Susan Isaacs!
288 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2021
20 years after "Compromising Positions", Susan Isaacs brings back Judith Singer in a very well plotted story, reuniting Judith, now widowed, with her lover, Nelson Sharpe. Judith gets involved in defending a man the police think murdered his wife. Most of the story takes place on the North Shore of Nassau County, Long Island, though there are forays into Manhattan and Sun Mountain, Idaho. Clothing by all the big names in fashion is well represented in the wardrobes of the characters. Jewelry, well-described, is just as likely to be found on men. Definitely recommended.
Profile Image for Stefania Saviane.
188 reviews5 followers
July 13, 2020
23/40 Seguito di un libro
“Chi non muore si rivede” di Susan Isaacs
Vent’anni dopo la sua prima indagine Judith, ormai vedova, si coinvolge in una nuova inchiesta, che la porterà a riallacciare i rapporti con il poliziotto che le aveva sconvolto la vita.
Mi è piaciuto molto, il movente viene fuori poco a poco e non è scontato, la personalità della vittima viene scandagliata con interviste che la mettono sotto luci diverse.
Grazie a Mauro per il regalo!
Profile Image for Lauren Poulin.
7 reviews1 follower
March 7, 2022
This book was excellent because the writing was excellent. It really painted a picture, and the descriptions were sophisticated. I laughed out loud at Judith's dry humour several times. I was not the biggest fan of the ending, but the writing style and likeable main character kept me reading. Judith (the main character) reminds me a lot of Kinsey Millhone, from the Sue Grafton series. Smart and sarcastic and independent. An enjoyable read!
113 reviews
November 3, 2016
I loved Susan Isaacs original book about this character. And there were flashes of the witty interior dialogue and zany antics that so charmed me then in this book too. But not enough to sustain a pretty dull "mystery" story. The romance also felt kind of contrived this time, which is sad given the boy meets girl story of these same two characters in the earlier novel.
Profile Image for Denise.
159 reviews
April 13, 2018
It was okay. The rating should really be 2.5. I cannot enthusiastically recommend it, but I can recommend it. It is a perfectly serviceable murder mystery. Our detective is a Long Island history professor who just seems to be nosy. Some of the characters (Fancy Phil) were not believable. It reminded me of Gone Girl, but not as sinister. It was way too long though.
27 reviews
May 16, 2020
Not my usual choice for reading material; it is now.

Captured my attention and held it. Maybe not as well as Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, but "close enough for government work".

The story line unrolls comfortably. Well paced. The characters are intriguing and the mystery remains a mystery until the end.
939 reviews5 followers
March 22, 2021
A mother goes missing in a wealthy community and everyone, including the police, think it’s the husband. A fifty something bored widow tells the husband she thinks he’s innocent and wants to prove it. The husband says go away but his father( a big shot in the mafia) agrees to take her on. She takes the case for free and the story is very entertaining. A bit silly plot but fun read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 169 reviews

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