Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blanche Among the Talented Tenth A Blanche White Mystery by Barbara Neely

Blanche is going on "vacation" for the first time in a long time.  She's let the kids go first with their friends and she's coming to join them on the beach.  It doesn't take long before she gets drawn into the family fights at the hotel and even the family she is staying with has it's problems.  When she finds out a few days before her arrival a woman was electrocuted in her bathtub, she wishes she'd never come...

Brash Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

Growing up in Washington state, I came from a white community.  My mother taught me to accept people of all colors (even green) and all beliefs.  Her idea was that we could all get along if we set our differences aside and celebrated the sameness.  I think it's possible, too, but not probable.  Too many embrace their differences.

To me, black was black.  Then we visited New Orleans and by listening to the history and culture there, I found out it wasn't that simple.  This book explores that concept in depth and I found it interesting reading.

Blanche is a dark Negro, almost purple skinned.  The folks at the hotel were relatives of the original owners, very rich Negros, a few whites, and all had their places.  The dining room was even segregated, with one side for those who had ownership or rights; the other side was for the "outsiders."  Blanche didn't belong to either set.

Not only is the hotel full of different "classes" of people, her niece she's raising is starting to worry about how dark she is.

While Blanche is worrying about all that, she's almost sure that lady's death in the bathtub was not accident and she's being pursued by an attractive male.  There's something sly about him but he makes her heart sing.

Blanche does find out what happened to the woman but the other information she learns is hard to take.  No one was really her friend there; she was being used.

I find Blanche fascinating as a character.  She believes in basic goodness, is cynical enough to get by, and she loves the children she's raising even if she feels herself losing them to their own lives.  She's not super thin, she likes her food, and I like her.  Why not give it a read and see what you think?

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