Blanche among the Talented Tenth

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9780140250367: Blanche among the Talented Tenth

The heroine of the top-selling mystery Blanche on the Lam--black domestic worker extraordinaire, accidental sleuth Blanche White--is enlisted to use her considerable wiles to discover the link between a suicide and a murder, and uncovers a web of secrets that someone may be willing to kill for.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Segregation is alive and well at Maine's exclusive Amber Cove seaside resort. But it's segregation between the Insiders--light- skinned African-American professionals like pioneering feminist Mattie Harris, her godson Hank (an MIT history professor), and the nervously proper Tatterson family--and the Outsiders, dark-skinned upstarts like Tina Jackson, the dreadlocked beauty involved with Durant Tatterson, and Blanche White, the caustic domestic who, relocated from North Carolina to Boston, thinks she is taking a vacation from detective work (Blanche on the Lam, 1992). No such luck: Not only was bullying Insider gossip Faith Brown electrocuted in her bathtub the night before Blanche arrived, but Hank has vanished into the Atlantic, leaving behind a note admitting that he killed her. So where's the mystery? In Faith's purse, where Blanche, goaded by an intruder who unwisely thought to discourage her, finds a cache of papers whose nasty secrets make it clear that Faith was a lot more vicious than she looked--and that certain Insiders are protecting much more than their social standing. Even so, tracking down the victims of Faith's treachery makes for a pretty limp mystery that, as in Blanche's debut, takes a back seat to an acerbic portrait of class infighting at its most corrosive. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In her second novel, Neely addresses the issue of color-based bigotry within the black community. As a child, Blanche White was taunted by her black classmates as "Tar Baby," and so she sets out less than enthusiastically for Amber Cove, a posh Maine resort filled with light-skinned blacks. The trip will get her out of Boston, however ("the most racist city in which she'd ever lived"), and give her a chance to see if her niece and nephew, who are spending the summer there, are picking up "hincty ideas" from what her friend Ardell calls "Caucasian-ettes." Despite an initially frosty reception at Amber Cove Inn, Blanche quickly makes friends with Mattie Harris, an "arrogant old girl"; catches the eye of Robert Stuart, a handsome pharmacist from the nearby town; and picks up the latest news--that Faith Brown, who routinely dug up and revealed dirt on others, was accidentally electrocuted while bathing. When a cove resident commits suicide, leaving behind a note implicating himself in Faith's death, Mattie decides that she and Blanche must get to the bottom of things. Blanche continues to appeal in her so-what-if-I've-got-an-attitude way, but while her first outing, Blanche on the Lam , was a mystery with a bit of message, this one is a message with a bit of mystery.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Published by Penguin Books (1995)
ISBN 10: 0140250360 ISBN 13: 9780140250367
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