BLANCHE CLEANS UP by Barbara Neely


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Good thing Blanche White's housekeeping stint for right-wing gubernatorial hopeful Allister Brindle (a would-be politician who doesn't know anything about the Massachusetts electorate) is only temporary. Blanche, not one to suffer fools gladly, has already stuck her sharp elbow into visiting Rev. Maurice Samuelson's rib after hearing his perfidious promise to deliver the Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas in his flock to Brindle, and she's connived with Ray-Ray Brown, the unwelcome son of the Brindles' regular housekeeper, to keep quiet about a menacing note he's delivered to Brindle. But Blanche's position in the household is still more secure than that of Felicia Brindle's sculpted personal trainer, Saxe Winton, or of Ray-Ray himself. Both of them are murdered, with more corpses still in the offing, as Brindle and his cohorts work themselves into a frenzy over a compromising videotape unlikely to endear him to the conservative voters he's counting on. It's a case that plays beautifully to the strengths Blanche showed in her first two novels (Blanche Among the Talented Tenth, 1994, etc.): poking around, getting underfoot, and displaying maximum attitude as she solves the tiny mystery en route to sticking it to the Man. The title says it all.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 258pp
Publisher: Viking