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Blanche Cleans Up (Blanche White #3)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  282 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Tart-tongued and shrewd, Blanche is unique in the field of amateur sleuths: a queen-sized, middle-aged black woman rooted in working-class America. In her latest adventure Blanche gets suckered into standing in as cook-housekeeper to Allister Brindle, a Boston Brahmin politician, and his do-gooder wife. Blanche is quickly enmeshed in a scandal that moves from the Brindles' ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published April 1st 1998)
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Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter MosleyBlanche on the Lam by Barbara NeelyA Little Yellow Dog by Walter MosleyLittle Scarlet by Walter MosleyFearless Jones by Walter Mosley
african american mysteries
20th out of 97 books — 37 voters
Blind Corners by Jemir Robert JohnsonThe Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. BorosonBlanche on the Lam by Barbara NeelyBloody Waters by Carolina Garcia-AguileraWhen Death Comes Stealing by Valerie Wilson Wesley
U.S. Ethnic Women Detectives
23rd out of 24 books — 11 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 451)
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Trish
Barbara Neely only wrote four Blanche books, but each one addresses issues central to life in America, and highlights the effect of these issues on the lives of America’s black folk. Blanche White, name notwithstanding, is a large woman with skin "on the extreme edge of blackness" and works as a "domestic." If you ever wanted to know what your maid or cook was thinking when they answered "Yes, Ma'm" with eyes cut off to the side, you're going to get your chance here. This woman is going to surpr ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Who could blame Blanche White for assuming that filling in for a week as a cook-housekeeper as a favor to someone would be easy? After all, Miz Inez, who normally had the gig at the stately Brindle mansion, didn’t usually have a strenuous job. However, Blanche hadn’t counted on blueblood Allister Brindle’s campaign for governor of Massachusetts. Or on the disappearance of Allister’s estranged son, Marc. Or on the mysterious death of Miz Inez’s son Ray-Ray just a few days into the temporary job — ...more
Deirdre
May 22, 2008 Deirdre rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Deirdre by: Susan by way of Helen - thank you!
I love the Blanche books. How often do you get a casual, easy-reading mystery told with a feminist, working-class, social justice, anti-racist perspective? I'd like to have a gin & tonic with Blanche.
Nancy
I am such a fan of Barbara Neely's series that I am afraid I can't consider this an unbiased review.

We may not be talking serious literature here, but we are talking about a very entertaining novel that is well-written, but also thought provoking. For me, the strength of "the Blanche novels" is that they address social issues throughout the book. Race and class are not just a sub-text, they are central to who Blanche is and how she faces the world. I have found each of the three books I've read
...more
Philip Bailey
Speaking through the character of Blanche, the author gives validation to the many concepts of the black population of Roxbury Massachusetts. I myself have made an immediate and illegal U-turn when I encountered the sign Entering Roxbury upon getting lost as I left a Red Sox game. No doubt there are many other accurate expressions of the attitude of black people as regards white people and of other black people. All that aside, this book is the third in the Blanche White series I have read. The ...more
Hadenmaiden
Blanche is a middle aged lady with attitude.
She is bringing up her sister's two children on her own, living away from her home town, and her mother, but with lots of friends in the local community.
This book is a murder mystery - with a difference. Blanche is standing in for her friend Miz Inez, who needs to take time away from her regular job, so Blanche ends up housekeeping for a wealthy local family. Whilst Miz Inez is away, her son dies (or is murdered, we don't know for a while) and Blanche
...more
Vi
Blanche is a 49 y.o. woman, raising her sister's two children. She's an efficient day worker, cooking and cleaning, for wealthy families. She's temporarily working for Allister and Felicia Brindle, while Ms. Inez (the regular worker), vacations with Blanche's cousin. Blanche is also caring for her cousin's 16 y.o. granddaughter while she's away. Unexpected events become mysteries. Ray-Ray, Ms. Inez' son, shows up at the Brindle home. Mr. Brindle (whose running for governor), rages in anger becau ...more
Tlovesbooks
Ok. I love a good murder mystery. I actually went through an Agatha Christie phase in middle school. This book begins a series of mysteries where a local cleaning woman, Blanche White, has to navigate through social expectations and others indiscretions to get to the truth about the murder of African American man in this small town.

Blanche is smart, sassy and skilled as unassuming investigator. Love the book and the series. I have been patiently waiting more installments for years:(
Maryellen
This was my first Blanche mystery and I'm of two minds. First, the author weaves a good mystery tale. The mystery is layered and complicated with multiple plot lines and characters. The story is well paced and her descriptive prose brings the Roxbury community to life. My second mind on this book is more problematic and rests with Blanche, the protagonist. While her character is well drawn, I found her mostly unlikable and it's hard for me to truly enjoy a book if I don't feels some affinity for ...more
Nanette Tredoux
If this book were a cake, it would be one of those with eight eggs, lots of butter and cream cheese frosting. And a cherry on top. A rich mix of motherly emotions, social responsibility, politics, thriller and murder mystery, I went and bought myself every other Barbara Neely book I could find before I had even finished half of it. The book is intense and deeply lived. Blanche is a little psychic and in close touch with her ancestors. She speaks her mind, and her words are choice, if not always ...more
Judy
easy reading. lots of good social issues from a black person's perspective; race, class, politics. will read more of Neely's books. great interview with her on you tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62wGF...
Catherine
I'd not read any of the other "Blanche" mysteries and was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the character of Blanche and the way she moved around in her world. What I really found appealing is that we don't often have characters like Blanche in mystery novels. It's not that common to find a blue-collar African American woman in the cozy mystery genre. And despite it's being a cozy mystery, there are a lot of issues that Blanche brings to the surface. This book is a good to read for the myster ...more
Betty
Blanche does a favorite for a friend Ienz by working for her so she can take a vacation. Inez is working for the Brindles and the husband is a right-winged conservative running for Governor. Her friend's son is found dead and it felt by Mr Brindle that son stole an object he wants. Before long Blanche is involved in their affairs and suspected of having the tape. She needs to find the tape in order to protect her family. This story has many turns and twists. There a paranormal factor that adds t ...more
Sheryl
I received an arc from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

The mystery is good. I was left guessing most of the way. Most of my assumptions were wrong and I like that. I hate when books are too predictable. This one is definitely not predictable.

The only downside for me, which may be my fault, this is part of a series and I haven't read the others, but at times I had some difficulty warming up to Blanche. Sometimes she was knee slapping funny in her observations. Other times she came of
...more
Diane
Blanche is a wonderful loyal friend who doesn't take nonsense from anyone, and I mean anyone, but she is also an eavesdropper and a gossip encourager and not because she is trying to solve a murder but just because she is just plain nosy. I have always longed to have a maid, have always been sure I was meant to have a maid, but now, if Blanche is the typical maid, am not so sorry that I don't have one.
This was an enjoyable read about a cleaning woman who is warm and generous and down to earth.
...more
Sara
Another good story in the Blanche White series.
Barbara Neely uses this series to not only share interesting mystery stories with us, but to also discuss issues. This book discusses protecting your family from the dangerous out in the world, from violence against gay lovers, teen pregnancy, lead poisoning, political corruption, and racial issues.
The two are intertwined very well in a well-written book that keeps you guessing and gets you thinking.
(Note: I received a free copy of this book in exch
...more
Sarah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann
I like this series. Set in the late 60's with a older black domestic as our main character it's an unusual read. Blanche is funny, loving and a fighter for justice. Her family is important and she works hard to provide for them. She takes a temporary job for a rich white family with political aspirations. When a young man is murdered in Blanche's neighborhood there are rumors he was blackmailing her temporary employers. Great series, great people, wonderful story lines.
Barbara
Comparing this autor to Walter Mosley is indeed generious. She dose write about the Black innercity experience and it is informative and it's good to begin to understand, she however does it in a lecturing kind of way rather than as Mosley does by weaving it seamlessly into the story. I probably will not read other of Barbara Neely's Blanche series but will continue to read all of Walter Mosley that I can get my hands on.
Donna Davis
Blanche Cleans Up, which is #3 in the Blanche White mystery series, is more than a murder mystery, as the numerous word plays in the title imply. This is a smart, funny-yet-serious series, and I am thrilled to be able to review another one for Net Galley and Brash Books, who provided me with a DRC. This title was released at the beginning of May, and so you ought to be able to buy it right now.

Blanche is a single African-American woman who chooses to do domestic work so that she can select her e
...more
Tara Kable
I received this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Holy Cow!! This was so stinkin adorable...I want to be Blanche's friend! She is funny, witty, sarcastic, and just plain fun!! I can't wait to read more of this series!! Perfect, easy, not too much to think about read.
Shantel Clemons
I received the ARC kindle edition of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Having read the first two books in this series, I have to say each book keeps getting better! Although the series is set in the 90's, the core issues of politics and race are still prevalent today. Blanche is a character that any woman should be able to identify with. This time around, Blanche is working a job for a friend while the friend takes a vacation. Who knew that the family she is working ...more
Jain
Another engaging and satisfying Blanche White mystery...a relief after the somewhat disappointing Blanche Among the Talented Tenth. Unlike the previous two books, Blanche Cleans Up takes place in Blanche's neighborhood (and the neighborhoods of her employers), rather than a country home or vacation resort. The relationships of Blanche and her family, including the niece and nephew for whom she acts as guardian, receive more attention as a result. Blanche having to deal with two adolescents and t ...more
Mary Byrnes
Love Blanche White

I really like the main character in this series. She is a very strong character and works for what she believes in. This is much more than a cozy mystery series. I look forward to the next chapter in Blanche's life.
Molly
Feb 11, 2012 Molly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I actively disliked the book for the first quarter. I thought this was because of its over-simplification of race. I now think I disliked it just because it was poorly written. I realized this when I hit the quarter mark, because the book finally hit its stride and was enjoyable. Blanche does clean up. My only other criticism is that I just didn't believe the main plot twists. I believe the characters, but *spoiler alert* that's just not how sexual deviance works. Bestiality and child abuse? Vic ...more
Ruth Ridoflo
Blanche is a wonderful character. You want her to be on your side. Barbara Neely writes believable characters and situations that pull you right into Blanche's world. Suspense, mystery, family, worry, happiness, fear. All these elements swirl around Blanche. Loved the book. Couldn't wait to sit down each day to see what was going to happen next.
sdw
This was my first, and thus far, only Blanche White read. Blanche White is a black woman who cleans rich white people’s houses for a living, solves mysteries, and mothers her dead sister’s children. My friends in Boston would particularly enjoy this novel because it takes place in Roxbury. Much of the novel operates as a direct confrontation with homophobia. Running through the novel as well is the question posed by Malik (Blanche’s son/nephew) who wants to write a research paper on environmenta ...more
Dorothy Schwartz
Not all books can be 5 star. This was a fun read. I have previously read a Blanch White story and enjoyed that one as well. Just not on my 5 star list. That to me is a must read.
Don Mitchell
A diverting detective story which touches a bit on racism, sexism, and greed. Fairly well written. Good character development.
Pat
Mar 17, 2014 Pat rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
Black woman, housekeeper, cook in Boston.
She is raising teen niece and nephew.
Working for candidate for office.
Well done.
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BarbaraNeely is a novelist, short story writer, and author of the popular Blanche White mystery novels. The first book in this series, BLANCHE ON THE LAM, won the Agatha, the Macavity, and the Anthony -- three of the four major mystery awards for best first novel -- as well as the Go On Girl! Book Club award for a debut novel. The subsequent books in the series, BLANCHE AMONG THE TALENTED TENTH, B ...more
More about Barbara Neely...

Other Books in the Series

Blanche White (4 books)
  • Blanche on the Lam
  • Blanche Among the Talented Tenth (Blanche White #2)
  • Blanche Passes Go
Blanche on the Lam Blanche Among the Talented Tenth (Blanche White #2) Blanche Passes Go Night Girl Phonics Magic

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