Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble – Ann B. Ross – 6/10

“That was what I call starting off on the wrong foot – the one he always started with and the one he pretty much stayed on.”

Miss Julia

Miss Julia, southern lady with a soft spot for a little sleuthing, dashes to help her friend Hazel Marie when the household help sprains his ankle. Hazel Marie’s cooking skills being totally non-existent, Miss Julia rings around her friends to compile a simple cookbook, complete with tutorials, for Miss Hazel. But when Mr Pickins’ eye seems to be wandering, James is sending cheques to charities of dubious origin and Brother Vern seems intent on living at Hazel Marie’s for ever, life gets a bit chaotic!

I have to confess, I found this one confusing.

On the one hand, it was very enjoyable and easy to read – I raced through it in a morning. There’s a bit of sleuthing, with a highly amusing ending, and plenty of laughs along the way. Most of the characters are sweet people for whom one really does wish the best and/or funny caricatures – I particularly liked Lloyd and Granny Wiggins.

The book is littered with recipes, many of which look very appetising; all of them look like I would die an early death of heart disease. Surely this cannot be the staple diet of 20 US states?

On the other, do people really still have live-in hired help in the South today? I would have thought the book was set in the 1960s (like The Help) except that they have mobile phones and internet. A bizarre mix of the times – or else not written for anyone outside the South.

This is a very mild, cosy mystery which is really more of a gentle story of malaise and misadventure in the southern States – if only it didn’t seem such a caricature.

Additional information:
Copy kindly provided by the publisher (Viking – Penguin Group USA) in return for an honest review.
Publisher: Viking – Penguin Group USA, 352 pages (hardback)
Order Miss Julia Stirs Up Troublefrom Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting

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