The delightful new installment of the beloved and New York Times bestselling Miss Julia series
When Miss Julia's regular doctor goes on vacation with his wife, leaving a replacement in his stead, Miss Julia is immediately concerned. Never one to miss an opportunity to entertainor size upa newcomer, she invites the charming Dr. Don Crawford, and his painfully shy wife, Lauren, to dinner. While Miss Julia and Sam both note Lauren's obvious lack of social skills, it's her friends Hazel Marie and Binkie that pick up on some of Dr. Crawford's less palatable qualities.
Meanwhile, Lloyd has gotten his first car, and LuAnne, fresh off her divorce, has started a job at the local funeral home and is in urgent need of an occupation-appropriate makeoverMiss Julia has enough on her plate. Yet there is just something she can't place about the Crawfords, and she won't rest until she gets to the bottom of it.
As always, hijinks ensue as Ann B. Ross delivers this delightful and entertaining installment, Miss Julia Takes the Wheel, in her bestselling Miss Julia series.
About the Author
Ann B. Ross is the author of more than a dozen novels featuring the popular Southern heroine Miss Julia, as well as Etta Mae's Worst Bad-Luck Day, a novel about one of Abbotsville's other most outspoken residents: Etta Mae Wiggins. Ross holds a doctorate in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has taught literature at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina
Read an Excerpt
“Miss Julia,” Dr. Bob Hargrove said as he clicked his pen closed and twirled himself around on his little stool, “you are the most boring patient I have. I can’t find a thing wrong with you.”
“Well, I’m sorry I can’t pique your interest with some small malfunction or another.” I ran my hand down the front of my blouse, ensuring that all the buttonholes were filled. It’s hard enough to undress in a doctor’s office, but even more difficult to redress, hurrying as one must to be put back together before he comes waltzing in to announce the verdict of one’s yearly examination.
“But,” I went on, “I get so tired. I don’t have the stamina or the energy I once had. And it’s hard to bend over or to get out of a chair. And my joints ache and my neck is stiff and my back hurts all the time—something has to be wrong.”
“Nope,” he said, coming to his feet with a slight groan—an indication that he might be dealing with some of the same symptoms. “What you’re describing is a natural result of aging.”
“I suppose,” I said, bowing to the obvious, “but I don’t like hearing it.” My age was a tender subject with me and I didn’t like him bringing it up and blaming everything on it. I could still recall the time in my life when every small complaint was laid at the feet of certain internal organs that are exclusive to my gender. Now, however, as those organs have taken themselves into retire- ment, doctors were blaming everything under the sun on advancing age.
“None of us do,” he said, as if all his patients were octogenarians, and I knew for a fact that his practice consisted mostly of young families. Then with a sidewise glance at me, he asked, “So, how’s your driving these days?”
“My driving’s just fine,” I said, stung by the question. How did he know that I’d backed into my boxwood hedge, crushing three of the bushes, gotten mired in the sodden ground cover, and had had to call a wrecker to extricate the car?
“Well, keep in mind that age affects the reflexes, and aging is a fact of life, if life lasts long enough. I’m happy to assure you that yours is lasting quite well.”
“And I certainly appreciate hearing that, but I declare, I hate to think of suffering through every day of what’s left of it.”
He bent his head and stared at me over the top of his glasses. “I can give you something for the aches and pains if you’ll take it.”
“No, I don’t want a row of medicine bottles on the windowsill over my sink, and I don’t want to have to keep a schedule of when and how much of each one I should take. I don’t want to have to be medicated just to be able to get out of bed each morning.”
“How much exercise do you get?”
“My word, Dr. Hargrove, I go up and down the stairs a half dozen times a day. I get plenty of exercise.”
“But maybe not the right kind,” he said, leaning against his desk and crossing one foot over the other. “Why don’t you consider some form of regular guided exercise? You might be surprised at how helpful it can be.”
“Well, I don’t know. I’m not interested in running a marathon for charity or walking ten miles for some disease or another.”
“No,” he said, straightening up and getting ready to move on to the next patient. “I’m talking about a low-impact exercise class that you’d do two or three times a week.”
“Like yoga, or Zumba, or some kind of aerobics. Tai chi is an excellent form of exercise. I recommend it.”
“Dr. Hargrove, I am a Presbyterian, as you well know, and most of those exercises include some all-encompassing religious view that is most definitely at odds with the Nicene Creed. I don’t want anything interfering with my spiritual well-being, thank you very much.”
“Well, think about it anyway,” he said, closing my chart. Then, as if suddenly remembering something, he said, “I guess Sue told you that we’re leaving for Europe next week—Monday, in fact.” Sue Hargrove was a friend, a fellow member of the garden club and the book club, and, in my opinion, a most suitable wife for the well-respected physician. She gave lovely parties.
“She told several of us awhile back,” I said, “but, I declare, I didn’t realize that the time is upon us. I must have you both for dinner before you go.” After that conventional invitation, it occurred to me that something more important was staring me in the face. “Doctor, if my memory serves me correctly, Sue said something about an extended tour—a matter of months, even. Will you really be gone that long?”
The thought of being without the services of my physician, even though I rarely had need of them, filled me with anxiety. I think he could see the dawning realization of looming abandonment on my face for he stopped and patted me on the shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Miss Julia,” he said. “I have a locum tenens coming in. He and his family will be staying in our house, and he’ll take care of my practice. He’s highly qualified, a graduate of McGill in Montreal, in fact, and—”
“He’s from Canada? What’s he doing way down here?”
“Came to his senses, I expect,” Dr. Hargrove said with a wry grin. “His wife’s from California, so maybe she drew him south. Anyway, he’ll be available just as I’ve always been. You won’t even know I’m gone.”
I wasn’t so sure of that. First of all, a locum tenens meant that his substitute didn’t have a practice of his own, otherwise he would be too busy to take over for someone else. And second of all, what was the reason he didn’t have a busy practice of his own?
The substitute would certainly bear keeping an eye on, but all I could do at the present was thank Dr. Hargrove for seeing me, wish him happy travels, and go home, hoping none of us would require medical care while he was traipsing around Europe.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Another delightful installment in the Miss Julia series. This time around Miss Julia’s regular doctor has taken an extended vacation and leaves Dr. Don Crawford as a fill-in. Ever the duty conscious Southern lady, Miss Julia invites the good doctor and his wife over for a dinner party. While Miss Julia seems concerned with the lack of social graces exhibited by the doctor’s wife, others of the party feel something amiss about Dr. Crawford himself. Meanwhile Miss Julia’s time is further distracted by the every day trials and tribulations of her family and friends, all requiring her assistance and intervention. Fans of the Miss Julia books as a well as fans of cozy mysteries in general will be anxious to pick up this latest book in the series.
NOPE........This series "Jumped the Shark" with the previous book. I used to LOVE this series, and couldn't wait for the next book! This author needed to either: End the series 2 books ago, or start another series which pushes her extreme right wing philosophy, or continue the Miss Julia books with the original delightful theme we ALL came to know and love.Rather - Ms Ross chose to turn our delightful Miss Julia into a spiteful, judgemental, narrowminded, nasty old lady.If the next book is titled "Miss Julia Returns to Grace" I will consider reading it. However; at this point, I will not contribute another penny to the coffers of one who clearly has so little grace and compassion in her heart.
I love the Miss Julia series. I find so many ways that I can identify with her. The story is fun and interesting with an exciting and unexpected culmination!
Boring NOT MUCH FOR A PLOT! Too much fluff I love her books but this one was a stinker
Again Miss Julia and friends are on a case. You will love this latest caper!
Not her best but I love the series
'I left that alone, for it's unbecoming to criticize a woman's husband. To her face, at least.' In this twentieth Miss Julia book, Ann B. Ross once again takes her readers on a wonderful ride (no pun intended) as we enter into the land of hijinks with Miss Julia Murdoch. Miss Julia's doctor has taken an extended vacation with his wife and hired a replacement in his stead. She is not one to welcome change, so she decides she must do something about this situation. Miss Julia, ever the consummate southern gracious lady, invites them over to dinner along with two other couples she knows and loves. The doctor's wife, Lauren, is an odd duck for sure and afterwards, Hazel Marie and Binkie pick up on some strange vibes from the doctor himself. In the meantime, Miss Julia's long time friend, LuAnne, who has divorced her philandering husband of 30 years, has just taken a job at the local funeral home. Add to the pot the fact that Lloyd has just gotten his first car, even though he is ashamed to be seen driving it, and you have all the ingredients necessary for a rollicking good time. And Miss Julia never fails to deliver. How that woman manages to get herself into the scrapes she does never ceases to amaze me. But she soldiers on like a good Southern lady, even when she's knee deep in mud in the pitch black dark. Put your seatbelt on and get ready for a hilarious ride as Miss Julia once again proves she is up to the task of setting folks straight in Abbotsville, NC. We see wonderful characters from previous books as well as a few new ones, who we'll never see again. My husband always says to me when I'm reading a Miss Julia book, 'What's Miss Julia up to now?' So I read to him and he laughs right along with me. Come along for the ride. Highly recommended. *My thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of this book. No positive review was expected. All the opinions stated here are expressly my own.