04 July, 2020

#BookReview :: Blanche Among the Talented Tenth (Blanche White #2) by Barbara Neely

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon
The second, ground-breaking mystery featuring African-American maid and amateur sleuth Blanche White by Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award winning Author Barbara Neely

When Blanche White moved north to Boston, she believed it would be a better place to raise her kids, especially after she got them into an elite private school. But now her children are becoming elitist and judgmental, acquiring more attitude than education. So when she and her kids are invited to Amber Cove, an exclusive resort in Maine for wealthy blacks, Blanche jumps at the chance to see how the other half lives and maybe stop her kids turning into people she doesn’t want to know. When one of the guests kills himself, and another is electrocuted in her bathtub, Blanche becomes an accidental detective once again, using her sharp wit and keen social insight to peel back some disturbing color and class distinctions within the black community that may have driven someone to murder.


When Blanche white is invited to spend the summer with an elitist bunch of people at Amber Cove, she decides to take up on it and see the kind of crowd her kids (her niece and nephew she is raising) are rubbing shoulders with at the private school she has them attending. She is expecting to meet the rich and the who's who of the African American community so that she can understand the changes in her kids. What she doesn't expect is to put on her detective hat. But that is what happens when a body turns up and everyone at the resort has a reason to want to see the victim dead. And, Blanche is left to work out the motives and the opportunity of the people she is supposed to be vacationing with.

I quite enjoyed this book mostly because of the protagonist. Blanche White is a loveable character. She is expert at befriending people and putting them at ease - a characteristic that came in handy in this book. People feel comfortable talking to her as they would to their best friend or to an agony aunt. Her ability to gather information, and sizing up people complements her natural ability to befriend people. She is smart and sassy too. She is open and frank in her discussions with the kids. What else do you need when you have a protagonist like this working out the details of the case? The book also touches upon the issues of  race and the matter of privilege in a way that is not so subtle or ignorable at all. Readers are bound to take notice in the way the wide set of characters are set up to bring out the points - sometimes with their presence, actions and dialogues, and sometimes with their absence. I particularly enjoyed that aspect of the book as it points out the problems without being preachy and giving the readers a chance to think upon it.

As for the plot itself, the stage setting and the character development has bene done quite well. The mystery was quite easy for someone like me… But that didn't take away from the reading experience at all. Well-paced narrative helps drive across the social aspect along with the mystery in the book.

Entertaining, Not a dull moment. Perfect for cozy mystery lovers who are open to getting something extra.