Get ready for double the trouble and twice the fun in Ann B. Ross's tenth Miss Julia adventure
If there's no rest for the weary, Miss Julia must be absolutely exhausted. She's just learned a secret--Hazel Marie is pregnant with twins and the prospective father has cleared out of town. But good things come in unexpected packages. Abbotsville finds itself the scene of a heist; and Miss Julia knows there's only one man who can solve the crime. It's J. D. Pickens, P.I., renowned investigator and Hazel Marie's wayward love. When he's summoned, one thing becomes clear: Miss Julia must help set things right between them or find herself the only one who can, quite literally, deliver the goods.
Ann B. Ross consistently draws crowds at bookstores, not only to purchase her books, but also to meet her in person. Her tenth Miss Julia novel will bring the goods to her tried-and-true fans and new readers alike.
An unplanned pregnancy, a destructive break-in and a nasty gazpacho incident are just a few of the problems facing Julia Murdoch in Ross's diverting 10th cozy to feature the North Carolina matron (after 2008's Miss Julia Paints the Town). When naïve Hazel Marie, the former mistress of Miss Julia's first husband, learns that her flulike symptoms have another cause, it's up to the enterprising Miss Julia to patch things up between Hazel Marie and her estranged PI boyfriend, J.D. Pickens. Meanwhile, a burglary at the house of lawyer Sam Murdoch, Miss Julia's second husband, means trouble. The disappearance of Sam's meticulous files on local court cases suggests there are parties who don't want information on Abbot County's philandering judge and corrupt sheriff to see the light of day. Those who prefer a leisurely pace, a touch of screwball comedy and gentle puzzles in their mysteries will enjoy this paean to smalltown nosiness and steadfast loyalties. 6-city author tour. (Apr.)
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April 15, 2009
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Excerpt from Miss Julia Delivers the Goods by Ann B. Ross
I turned from the rain-streaked window of my bedroom to see
Hazel Marie's head poking through the half- opened door. "Come in, Hazel Marie. Are you feeling better?"
"A little, I guess," she said, edging into the room. "Are you busy?"
"Not at all. I could use some company."
"I don't want to bother you."
"You're not bothering me." I indicated the easy chair opposite mine by the double windows. "Come watch the rain with me. I thought we were having another dry summer, but just look at it come down."
Hazel Marie sat down and, like me, turned to look out at the soggy yard, dotted now with standing puddles of water. I'd not turned on any lights although the dim room could've used some, so we sat in companionable silence for several minutes. After a while, I frowned, recalling that she'd bypassed breakfast, saying that she wasn't hungry. Now here she was, doing something else unusual. It wasn't like her to sit any length of time without chattering away about something. She was normally full of wonder and awe and bubbling over about one thing or another. I liked that about her. You would think that after some years with me, she would've become used to a life without financial worries. You would've thought that she'd have begun taking her carefree days for granted. But she hadn't. Oh, she enjoyed herself immensely, don't get me wrong. But the most endearing thing about her was that she was so eternally grateful for her good fortune, even though it had come at the expense of my knowledge that she'd carried on with my first husband in such an inappropriate manner. But that carrying on had produced a child who covered a multitude of sins.
Lloyd was no kin of mine--try as I might I couldn't figure out any relation. There was no name for a husband's child by another woman, but that didn't stop a kinship between me and the boy that went beyond bloodlines. Lloyd was more like me than any child I could've had, but didn't. And his mother was like a ray of sunshine in my life--as long as I didn't dwell on what she'd done. And I didn't. I didn't because her sweet disposition and wide-eyed wonder at what ever came her way made me value her for herself alone without letting her unsavory past poison the present.
The only thing I could never figure out was why she'd been attracted to Wesley Lloyd Springer in the first place. He was certainly no bargain, although I may be prejudiced. In fact, though, I don't think she was ever specifically attracted to him. I think he found her when she was at a low point, which was where she'd been since birth, and took her up. He gave her a place to live, such as it was, and then she found herself with child and that was it for a good many years. She wasn't the first woman to find herself trapped with a man she neither liked nor loved for the sake of a child.
Her first taste of freedom, and mine, too, for that matter, came when Wesley Lloyd passed, and I was finally able to put aside my terrible anger and open my home and my heart to my husband's mistress and their little son.
All the while that these thoughts were running through my mind, she'd sat staring out the window, her elbow propped on the chair arm and her chin on her hand.
"Hazel Marie?" I said. "Is something on your mind?"
She sighed, looked down, and began to fold pleats in the cream- colored crepe trousers she wore. "I'm not sure," she mumbled.
"Well, I can see that you're worried about something. So tell me and let's try to fix it." Then a jolt of anxiety shot through me. "Is it Lloyd? Is something going on with him?"
"Oh, no. He's fine. He's almost finished with his summer reading list." She glanced up at me, then down again at the pleats she'd made. "You know how organized he is. He's really enjoying the tennis clinic, too."
"Then, Mr. Pickens? Is he worrying you?" I could see how he would, since he was as stubborn as a mule when it came to settling down, which, considering the favors I assumed she granted him, he should've done some time ago. Of course, I didn't know for sure what went on between them, but I hadn't just fallen off a turnip truck.
"No." She shook her head, her eyes still downcast. "No, J.D.'s . . . all right, too. It's just, . . . oh, Miss Julia." She looked up again and I saw tears welling in her eyes.
I leaned toward her, concern in my voice. "Hazel Marie, what's
"Oh, Miss Julia, I think . . . I think something bad's wrong with me."