Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Blanche Cleans Up

Book Cover: Blanche Cleans Up by Barbara Neely Blanche Cleans Up by Barbara Neely
Published 5 May 2015 by Brash Books
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

The third, ground-breaking mystery featuring African-American maid and amateur sleuth Blanche White by Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award winning Author Barbara Neely

Blanche White is working as a temporary cook and housekeeper for a right-wing, Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Alistair Brindle when someone tries to blackmail him. It's an ugly mess that Brindle's political team is eager to sweep under the carpet and that Blanche can't resist cleaning up herself…especially after a young black man is killed who knew too much about Brindle's dirty laundry. Her investigation raises dark secrets involving sex, environmental contamination, and political corruption, difficult stains on the white, conservative Brindle family that someone is trying to remove with murder.

My Thoughts

I do so much enjoy reading a Blanche White mystery. Blanche is plain-spoken and tells things like they are. She's got spunk. Now, this can get her into trouble from time to time.

In Blanche Cleans Up, Blanche is filling in for her friend Miz Inez as cook and housekeeper in the home of gubernatorial candidate Allister Brindle and his wife Felicia. When Miz Inez's son, Ray-Ray dies mysteriously, it is up to Blanche to figure out whether it was a cruel accident or murder.

After the death of her sister, Blanche is now raising the sister's children. Like all parents, Blanche worries that she's doing the right things. Is she sending them to the right schools? Is she being too protective or too permissive? But Blanche has additional concerns. Blanche is very aware of the unique pressures on black teens, above and beyond those experienced by all teens. I found it very interesting to listen in as Blanche ponders the particular concerns of being a black woman in a world where things are so much easier for white people. As I said, Blanche doesn't pull her punches.

Blanche Cleans Up was originally published in 1998 and is being re-released in eBook format by Brash Books. It's the third of four books in the Blanche White mysteries by Barbara Neely. I'm anxious to read the fourth book, and will be sad when there are no more to look forward to.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of Blanche Cleans Up from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which the BookObsessed online community will receive a few cents if you make purchases.

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