Judith Singer, the housewife/heroine of COMPROMISING POSITIONS, is
back after more than two decades. Her life has changed
dramatically. She earned the doctorate in history she always wanted
to get, the kids are grown and on their own, and she is a widow,
after Bob, her very correct and passionless husband, passed away
mere hours after running the New York City marathon.
What hasn't changed? Judith (never Judy) still pals around with her
college friend Mary Lou, loves the art of solving a crime, and
pines for Nelson Sharpe, the Nassau Country detective who was her
lover in COMPROMISING POSITIONS.
Given this, it's not surprising that when Courtney Logan, the oh so
correct and perfect suburban mom and founder of StarBaby,
disappears without a trace on Halloween night that Judith sharpens
her detective skills, starts making notes and interviews everyone
who will talk to her. The prime suspect: Courtney's husband Greg.
And who is Greg's father? --- "Fancy Phil" Lowenstein, a known Long
Island mobster, who of course wants Judith on his side, leading to
some very comical meetings.
For months she tracks this case, checking her own leads. Along the
way she talks her way into suburban Long Island and Connecticut
homes, meeting housewives who fete her with such treats as a Lime
Refresher, which to Judith tastes like a blend of green Chuckles,
Gatorade, and ice. The descriptions of these women read like a
running monologue of Judith's subconscious. "She apologized,
apologetic she couldn't be of more help. As she did, the deltoids
under the straps of her chartreuse-piped-with-apple-green tank top
gleamed darkly. I decided I wouldn't want to be on the opposite
side of a school bond fight with this dame."
The police get a big break in May when a body is found at
Courtney's house, when the pool man removes the cover. By then
Judith knows that Courtney is not as perfect as everyone
Wondering about Nelson? Yes, he and Judith meet again, and the
sparks are still flying. One of my favorite scenes is where she is
in her closet getting dressed while talking to Nelson on the phone.
She picks up white lingerie...and as they keep talking she reaches
for beige and then finally gravitates to black. From this, you can
see exactly where Judith's evening is headed. Her line ---
"Obvious, perhaps, but also effective."
For me, no Isaacs book in between has been as good as COMPROMISING
POSITIONS --- till now. There is something so distinctive about
Isaacs writing Judith, where we not only see the joke, but also the
Reading this book I feel like I went to a reunion and bumped into
an old friend. And it was just great to see her and realize that
after all this time she is just as witty and funny as ever. One
note --- it's interesting to see how my perspective has changed as
I have gotten older. When I read COMPROMISING POSITIONS, I was in
my 20s, unmarried and living a life free of most responsibility.
Judith's discontent was lost on me. Reading LONG TIME NO SEE (and
rereading COMPROMISING POSITIONS) as a 40-something wife and mom,
the books have a completely new meaning.
Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald on January 22, 2011