Saturday, September 27, 2014

Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely

Blanche is a fun character to follow through a tale.  She's black, works as a housekeeper for the monied folk of North Carolina and she knows her place.  She also knows she's not stupid, they're no better than she is (just a bit more money is all) and she takes no crap off anybody.  Even Blanche appreciates the irony of her name, Blanche White.  It's a good thing she has friends because she's going to need them before the end of this story!

Brash Books generously shared a copy of this book with me for a review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your bookstore for a copy.

Blanche's troubles begin when she writes checks for her utility services and her customers don't pay her on time.  The checks bounce.  She's anticipating explaining that to the judge and getting some time to make them good.  The judge isn't listening and she's facing jail time.  She asks to use the bathroom, then hightails it out of the courthouse and heads for parts unknown.  She knows she can't go home.  So she finds another home to work in and stays with them as a servant.  That's all well and fine until she cottons on to the fact that there is something funny going on.

It takes a bit for the story to develop its bones and start making sense.  It moves from a domestic situation to murder.  And when they try to pin it on Blanche, she starts calling in favors and chatting with gossips.  It takes her personal knowledge of how people work to put it all together and find the guilty party.

This is the first Blanche book I've read.  It's like a cozy mystery and I enjoyed it.  I'll be watching for more.

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