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Publisher's Summary

Blanche White is a plump, feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper working for the genteel rich in North Carolina. But when an employer stiffs her, and her checks bounce, she goes on the lam, hiding out as a maid for a wealthy family at their summer home.

That plan goes awry when there's a murder and Blanche becomes the prime suspect. So she's forced to use her savvy, her sharp wit, and her old-girl network of domestic workers to discover the truth and save her own skin.

Along the way, she lays bare the quirks of southern society with humor, irony, and a biting commentary that makes her one of the most memorable and original characters ever to appear in mystery fiction.

©1992 Barbara Neely (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Neely's deftly written first novel pays tribute to the community and culture of a working-class African-American woman who becomes both a sleuth and a fugitive from the law." ( Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Beautifully read, and probably provocative to some

I listened to this and was hooked from the beginning. The writing is superb and I thought the reader did an outstanding job. She really brought the book alive. I realize the book makes some hard comments about race and stereotypes, and maybe these are not as prevalent as they were when the book was written, but I would propose that all these ways of thinking still exist, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. I admit it was strong in that regard, and as a white woman I don't think I have the experience to argue otherwise. As someone whose family is from the region discussed, I think there is a great deal of truth in the writer's words, and maybe we could all benefit from recognizing there is still a lot more progress we can make in exposing and eradicating racism. I just loved the writing most of all, and I would recommend this to others who enjoy a well written story and can stay open-minded to the relevance of Blanche's experience.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but not great

This was a good story but the narrator could have been better. There was an over pronunciation of words that took getting used to. The voices were better than the regular reading and sounded more natural if that makes any sense.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Beatrice
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 09-23-17

Insulting

This book is filled with bad stereotypes and a ridiculous predictable plot. I couldn't finish listening.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not For Me

I'm sure Barbara Neely is a talented writer. However, I don't like to read about characters who constantly make stupid decisions. I returned this book after chapter 6 because I simply couldn't force myself to listen anymore.