Miss Julia, whose first husband left all of his considerable wealth to his illegitimate teenage son Lloyd upon his death
Lillian, Miss Julia’s housekeeper and friend
Mattie Freeman, the deceased
If I were not from the South I most likely would not enjoy these little mystery novels as much as I do, but being from there myself, they are a lot of fun to read. Serious goings on occur, but even though death and intrigue are a part of each and every one of the books, the tone is light and upbeat. Miss Julia and Lillian or Etta Mae are usually caught outside in the middle of the night doing some kind of breaking and entering, just to find evidence of course. Miss Julia is on her second marriage, a happy affair after the miserable experience of her first, to a husband who never cared and a life that while offering much in the way of financial security, was a cold and loveless one for the most part. Her no-count first husband tries to leave his all to a son Miss Julia knew nothing about, but the courts decide in her favor and split the will. And Miss Julia, just to show the kind of girl she is, becomes close friends not only with the boy, but with her former husband’s mistress as well. All of this is background to all of the stories in the series.
In this episode, a member of Miss Julia’s social circle, an old maid named Mattie Freeman, is in the hospital but before you know it, the lady dies and Miss Julia is notified that she is named as the executor of the will, which is surprising because Miss Julia was not that close and in fact did not particularly care for Mattie Freeman at all. Not wanting to shirk her Christian duty, she begins the task of gathering the assets, what little there are, and disposing of them so that she can make the distributions stipulated in the will. The question is, will there be enough to go around. Of course, several who find out they are named are at the door with hands out, the pastor of the Presbyterian church chief among them, for goodness sakes, the air conditioner has gone out and they need that money to keep from baking in the summer heat in North Carolina. To make matters worse, a long lost nephew turns up, whom no one has ever seen or heard of before and tries to gain access to Mattie’s apartment. Miss Julia isn’t having any of that until she finds out just who this guy is, but despite her best efforts, the apartment is broken into and some valuable items go missing.
These are fun, easy books to read and are well done. No loose strings hanging at the end in this series and you can always count on Lillian to give some good sound advice and Miss Julia usually not to take it.