Blanche on the Lam (Crime, Penguin)

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9780140174397: Blanche on the Lam (Crime, Penguin)

Blanche White lends a refreshing African-American, female twist to the mystery tradition, as she turns from domestic worker to insightful--if reluctant--sleuth. A middle-aged housekeeper with a strong sense of humor, Blanche becomes an unlikely yet ingenious sleuth when murder disrupts the wealthy household of her employers.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

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. Prickly view of class-clashes, race relations, and family foibles, in a somewhat forced, folk-talk style. Primarily for southern gothic aficionados. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Neely's deftly written first novel pays tribute to the community and culture of a working-class African American woman who becomes both a sleuth and a fugitive from the law.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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