Miss Undine's Living Room: A Novel (Voices of the South)

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9780807126998: Miss Undine's Living Room: A Novel (Voices of the South)

A candidate for the office of Superintendent of Streets, Parks, and Garbage, middle-aged matron Olive Mackie of Tula Springs, Louisiana, finds her political aspirations thwarted when her ninety-one-year-old Great Uncle L.D. comes under suspicion for murder. Police don't believe that L.D.'s home-care attendant would commit suicide by jumping from a second-floor window -- but Olive, who has heard her uncle demonstrate his excellent memory by reciting important dates in history over and over, thinks he would. Before justice can be done, half the staff of City Hall, a home ec teacher, an uninspired dentist, the principal of a disreputable private school, and several adulterous housewives are implicated in James Wilcox's spectacular plot. His third Tula Springs novel, Miss Undine's Living Room is not only a masterful comedy, exuberant and irreverent, but also a deeply felt examination of the education of the mind and the spirit.

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About the Author:

James Wilcox is the author of eight novels, including North Gladiola, Modern Baptists, Guest of a Sinner, and, most recently, Heavenly Days. He is Robert Penn Warren Professor and director of creative writing at Louisiana State University and lives in Baton Rouge.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this loose, sprawling novel, Wilcox is back in tiny Tula Springs, La., the setting of Modern Baptists and North Gladiola. Here, he takes an oblique approach to crime solving that is, in essence, a wry study of small-town eccentrics and miscreants as they go their busy ways campaigning for political office, stirring up trouble in City Hall, or carrying on clandestine affairs. The crime itself is largely ignored for much of the book. Did Mr. Versey, a nasty male nurse, jump to his death from Uncle L. D. Loraine's second-story window, or did Uncle L. D., a bedridden and befuddled nonagenarian, push him? Donna Lee Keeley, a fresh-faced, brisk young lawyer takes the case when authorities mull over bringing Uncle L. D. before a grand jury. Dr. Munrow, the upright principal of the local prep school, visits Uncle L. D. privately and strongly advises him to admit to murder. Mrs. Undine, a former civics teacher who knows everyone and everything, and Olive Mackie, a distant relative of Uncle L. D., are at the center of the action, and Olive eventually pulls all the strings necessary to solve the mystery. Wilcox's droll humor as he chronicles the slightly peculiar way of life in Tula Springs should keep readers chuckling.
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