As Miss Julia Strikes Back by Ann B. Ross opens, Miss Julia discovers that her wedding ring and engagement ring are missing. Upon talking to her friend in the police, she learns that the theft is likely the work of a criminal gang that has been working several states. Determined not to leave this matter to the police, Miss Julia drives with Little Lloyd, now promoted to Lloyd, three days to Florida, where the gang reportedly hangs out, to hire Frank Tuttle, a private investigator whom her friend uses. Upon arriving in Palm Beach, Miss Julia finds Mr. Tuttle, but he is in a bar, dead drunk at noon. When he faints, the pair have to drag him out of the bar and end up calling, Etta Mae Wiggins, a nurse friend of Lloyd’s mother to fly down to Florida to help them.
So begins the latest adventure of Miss Julia in another wild caper that made me laugh really hard. I had to suspend some of my disbelief to accept that Miss Julia would have put up with Tuttle upon seeing his drunken state instead of finding another detective. But once I did that, I really enjoyed this book. One of the funniest scenes involved Miss Julia’s throwing away Mr. Tuttle’s clothes while he is drunk and making him ride to the airport with her wearing nothing but a blanket.
The book had a surreal moment when Etta Mae admires the fancy clothes of those going to an expensive party and wonders if Donald Trump is there. “Who’s he?” asks Lloyd. “Just someone who happens to live here. Part time,” says Miss Julia.
I really enjoy the voice of Miss Julia. Her interpretations of things become amusing, as we the readers recognize the reality that Miss Julia does not. She also has her own quips that she does not recognize as clever but which come across so. I also had to smile once when Miss Julia once referred to “she or he” instead of “he or she.” As a feminist, I prefer to alternate the order instead of limiting myself to saying “he or she” all the time. This order is based upon old rules that because Adam was created first, the man must always be named first.
This book is a mystery, but not a murder mystery and only a light mystery at that. It is such an enjoyable book that I had a lot of fun listening to it.
Cynthia Darlow does a terrific job of narrating this book. I love the voices she uses, as she realistically performs the voice of Lillian, the African American housekeeper; Lloyd, a boy about 12; Miss Julia, the older woman; and Mr. Tuttle, a frequently-drunk middle-aged man. In addition, Darlow channels Miss Julia so that I can’t imagine anyone else as the genteel lady who keeps getting into trouble.
I had a great time listening to Miss Julia Strikes Back! This book is truly delightful and so much fun. I give it five stars!
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