Who is Julia
Julia lives in Garden City, an imaginary American city located in New Jersey, about an hour's drive from New York. A river flows through it, the Marygold, and its streets are named after flowers, which contrasts crudely with the gory nature of some of the crimes committed in Garden City. As Berardi commented: "It is a sort of multi-purpose set, where I was able to concentrate a human microcosmos that provides the background setting to Julia's investigations. New York is too large and too spread-out: if you don't live there, you risk trivializing it or making some monumental mistake…". A similar choice was made by Ed McBain, the writer of police thrillers who invented "87th District". The city where Detective Steve Carella & Co goes about his daily tasks is purely imaginary.
All the same, it doesn't take much effort to visualize the characteristics of the "Big Apple" behind the author's passionately-felt descriptions of the various different areas of the city, some of them very run down and full of teeming tenement buildings, others obviously affluent, but all of them rich in a variegated range of humanity and - unfortunately - in crimes of all kinds! Julia has a teaching appointment at Hollyhock University, a prestigious academic institution, well organized and governed by Chancellor W.B. Harris. The student body reflects a very wide range of different social classes, so that it effectively presents a significant cross-section of the whole of today's younger generation, the kind of young people Julia tries to relate to during her classes. The main newspaper in Garden City is the "Sentinel", whose editor-in-chief is called Bradley. The local television station is GTB (Garden Television), and its newsreel is hosted by a high-flying reporter, Tina Davis. She's a smart strong-willed blonde, extremely determined and stubborn; often she works with Julia, but neither of them ever step out of line professionally or encroach on each other's tasks.
Julia's home is at 96 Tulip Street, in an elegant residential area. It's a two-level house, spacious and comfortable, perfectly suited to the criminologist's lifestyle. In the large first floor living room, there's a grand piano that Julia often plays with accomplished hands. Her repertoire ranges over a wide variety of styles, from Robert Schumann to Carol King, via the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, right up to Bob Marley! The soundtrack of her stories is similar to the musical accompaniment to the kind of life we all live: a glance toward the past, a nod to the present…. Her study, on the upper floor, is crammed with books. Not only articles and manuals on criminology, but fiction of all types; and anthologies, biographies and photographic documents as well… A well-stocked library that can be consulted at any time, capable of solving complex investigative problems and satisfying the pulsions of a voracious reader. Music, books and cinema are definitely the three fundamental passions in Julia's life!