‘The Old Man and Me’ by Elaine Dundy: American Heiresses, 60s Boho London, Mayhem, Mischief and Money

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evamay78 on Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) | Source

Does the title of this hub ring a bell?  If so, then it’s probably the name of the author mentioned.  Elaine Dundy, as authors go, qualifies as something of a one-woman cult, but possibly not for ‘The Old Man and Me’.  Amongst her fictional works, ‘The Dud Avocado’ is probably her most famous and celebrated novel, the others, this amongst them, languishing in a certain obscurity.  Dundy has also written some well-received non-fiction including biographies of Australian actor Peter Finch and Elvis Presley.

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Is ‘The Old Man And Me’ an intriguing novel that might be a stimulating read for you?  It’s an account of the misadventures of American would-be heiress Betsy Lou, as she goes on the trail of her missing fortune all the way to bohemian 60s London.  How does she fare once she gets there?  Caught up in the boho crowd, she’s still single-minded in her pursuit.

Her pursuit?  Her pursuit of the naughty, bad, wrongful heir of all of the lovely money that should rightly have been hers, of course…  And inventing a whole new persona for herself, she resolves that she’s going to take that wonderful filthy lucre right back.  Does her pursuit of the ill-gotten gains and their devious inheritor go smoothly?  Well, it’d be a pretty short book if they did.  C.D. McKee turns out to be just a little bit more than Betsy Lou bargained for, in more ways than one…


The book is a perky, engaging ride as we watch two wily, devious characters navigate around each other and battle for power and control.  The writing is clear, pleasant and very readable, possibly aided by the post publication edit this edition has received.  I can admit to thoroughly enjoying the novel: and yet, my final verdict? 

It’s no Dud Avocado.  It’s fun, it’s frothy… but it’s not her best.  For true fans, still worth a spin, though!

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