CLOSE QUARTERS by Marissa Piesman

CLOSE QUARTERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The good news is: Piesman (Heading Uptown, 1993, etc.) still has a great narrative voice for Nina Fischman's antics. The bad news is: She still has trouble finding something for her wisecracking, Jewish, Bronx-born lawyer to do. Here Fischman agrees to take over a share in a summer house on Fire Island when a co-worker's roommate drops out. As usual, Fischman has the appeal of a smart, chatty friend. Piesman, through third-person narration rooted in Fischman's perspective, digresses on everything from art appreciation (""Scarsdale girls...had the easiest time oohing and aahing. The Bronx girls often found it hard not to snicker"") to Tina Brown's New Yorker. The mystery here is almost negligible. The male schoolteacher organizing the summer share -- who has slept with every woman in the house except for Fischman -- is found dead in his bed. The culprit is so obvious that readers will expect a surprise twist at the end -- but there is none. Fortunately, Fischman's blossoming romance provides better fodder for Piesman's asides. Solid writing from an author who ought to forget the mystery angle and just use her ironic gifts to go to town à la Nora Ephron.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Delacorte