Blanche, a street-smart black domestic on the run from the sheriff for passing a bad check (again), winds up cooking and caring for edgy Miz Grace, her husband Everett, her wealthy, reclusive Aunt Emmeline, and her somewhat retarded Cousin Mumsfield at their summer home in Hokeysville, North Carolina--in a quirky mystery debut that pits Blanche against a Faulknerian cast of oddballs who may be trying to kill each other off to claim a southern fortune. Did Everett murder his first wife for her money, and does he have similar plans for his second? Is Grace trying to con her feeble auntie into signing a new will discounting Mumsfield and exalting her? Does auntie have a drinking problem, or is she the sweet, old woman Mumsfield remembers? Is the sheriff blackmailing Everett or vice versa? As Blanche wrestles with these problems, including what's in the cellar of the family's winter home, she communes telepathically with Mumsfield, phones home regularly to make sure her Mama and her two kids are all right, and ties in several other murders before heading off for the peace (she hopes) of Boston.
What a charming book! And a fresh perspective, too.
Blanche is a black single mother who works as a domestic in the South. Her adventures are interesting, mainly because Barbara Neely is a wonderful writer -- This is one of those stories where the plot proceeds slowly, and it's not really clear you're in a murder mystery per se, because there's not much murdering and sleuthing -- but you don't care because the writing is so good, Blanche is such an interesting person, the life she lives and her views as a black domestic in a white world is so different from my own, that I could not put this book down, and didn't want to.
I have got to see if I can get my hands on what else Ms Neely has written. I want to enjoy her writing again.
Blanche is an African-American domestic worker who is forced into the role of detective in a murder in a house where she's working temporarily. She's intelligent and compassionate but not perfect--not a superhero, just an excellent character to choose as a detective in a mystery story. The friend who recommended this book highly to me was absolutely right.
It\'s hard enough making ends meet on the pittance Blanche White earns doing day work for the genteel Southern families of North Carolina. But when her fourth bad check lands her a jail sentence, Blanche goes on the lam. She finds work at the summer home of a wealthy family, the members of which have plenty of their own secrets. And when a dead body is discovered, Blanche finds herself the prime suspect. Using her wit and intelligence, she gets to work uncovering the real killer before she lands in more hot water.
I love mysteries. I am posting two additional books in the series by Barbara Neely; \"Blanche Among the Talented Tenth\" and \"Blanche Cleans Up.\" The author\'s books are full of intrigue and humor.
Blanche cleans houses for a living, and she's smart enough to know when something's not quite right. Of course, since she's holding her latest position purely by accident, and trying to keep out of the clutches of the law, she's on shaky ground, but when a body turns up, she gets busy. This fast-paced story will keep you turning pages!
I love the Blanche series!!! She's a no-nonsense sister with common sense and a knack for figuring things out. Grown kids and good friends enliven her life as well. The kind of woman you'd want to have lunch with regularly -- to commiserate and celebrate with!
Blanch White makes ends meet doing day work for genteel Southern families in NC. When her 4th bad check lands her a jail sentence, she goes on the lam, discovering death, secrets, etc along the way. The book is funny, and a delight to read.