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Blanche Among the Talented Tenth

(Blanche White #2)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,283 ratings  ·  161 reviews
When Blanche White—domestic worker extraordinaire turned accidental sleuth—managed to get her kids into a private school, she didn't know they'd be getting as much attitude as education. So she jumps at the opportunity to spend some time with them at Amber Cove, an exclusive, all-black resort in Maine, where she can observe them with their wealthy friends—and keep them fro ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published 1995 (first published September 1st 1994)
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Brown Girl Reading
Blanche Among the Talented Tenth is the second book in the Blanche White series. I remember how taken I was with the first book in the series Blanche on the Lam, but this second book is just brilliant. Where has Barbara Neely been all my life and why aren't more people reading and raving about her Blanche White series? This series has everything most mystery/crime novels don't have: a main character that you can't help but love that is portrayed as real as can be, a storyline that keeps you hook ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those unafraid of something different
Shelves: favorites
Having dealt with the retrograde condition of interracial relations in the debut novel of this series, author Barbara Neely turns her gimlet eye to the state of relations with the African-American community in Blanche and the Talented Tenth.

The title refers to W.E.B. Dubois’ prediction that one-tenth of the Negro race would rise, through education and good character, to be the leaders who would buoy up the rest of the race. The term became conflated with light-skinned blacks, those with straight
I truly loved this! It's a really good look at the interplay in the Black Community USA between colorism and classism as well as the undeniable link between the two.
Black firsts are sometimes so light skinned I'm not entirely sure they're black. Wealth and status have been tied to skin color since the first 'Angolan' officially arrived in this country.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second book of the Blanche White series has Blanche carefully preparing for a Maine beach holiday in the fictional resort of Amber Cove. The "talented tenth" of the title are the "light bright" set: fair-skinned, wealthy, black Americans. Blanche, a working class housekeeper, is atypically nervous about her trip:

"Blanche assumed there must be some black-black rich women in the country, but she'd never seen one; so she wasn't expecting to see her eggplant-black self mirrored at Amber Cove. Bu
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I loved Blanche Among the Talented Tenth even more than the first book in the series, Blanche on the Lam. I wasn't quite expecting that, because the setting of the first book (rural North Carolina) is much more familiar to me than the setting of the second (an expensive black resort on the coast of Maine). But in this book we get deeper into Blanche's life and personality. The setting allows her to make more friends, spend time with the niece and nephew she's raising, and contemplate romance.

Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I thought in skipping the first Blance mystery Blanche on the Lam I would miss out on getting to know the main character, but that was not the case. Blanche turned out to be more interesting than the mystery itself which I thought was a little lackluster. The central theme here is the mistreatment (i.e. looking down on)of dark-skinned black people by thier light-skinned counterparts, which Blanche, being dark, experienced all of her life. The mystery read more like gossip and only seemed to crea ...more
Donna Davis
“Everybody in the country got color on the brain…white folks trying to brown themselves up and looking down on everything that ain’t white at the same time; black folks puttin’ each other down for being too black; brown folks trying to make sure nobody mistakes them for black; yellow folks trying to convince themselves they’re white.”

Timely? Why yes! So isn’t it interesting that this book was initially published in 1994?

My many thanks go to Net Galley and Brash Books for a fascinating DRC.

The Bl
Monica **can't read fast enough**
I enjoyed this installment much more than book one. Neely shows more of who Blanche is in this one, how she handles the need to provide a better life for the children in her care while trying to make sure that they stay not only connected to their own history but to continue to grow into kind and empathetic people. This isn't a huge thriller and doesn't have a complicated mystery that's difficult to figure out. It's a quick read and an entertaining story that was just what I was looking for.

Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Barbara Neely has pulled off a rather challenging feat: she has managed to introduce the serious issues of color, class and race to readers who would not wittingly pick up a book on those subjects. And, she certainly managed to seriously engage me in the subjects.

The reader who wants a complex and heady mystery story may be disappointed in this novel because that aspect of the book is clearly secondary to Neely's interest in raising the subject of how we judge and perceive each other.

This is my
Bookish Indulgenges with b00k r3vi3ws
When Blanche white is invited to spend the summer with an elitist bunch of people at Amber Cove, she decides to take up on it and see the kind of crowd her kids (her niece and nephew she is raising) are rubbing shoulders with at the private school she has them attending. She is expecting to meet the rich and the who's who of the African American community so that she can understand the changes in her kids. What she doesn't expect is to put on her detective hat. But that is what happens when a bo ...more
Clare O'Beara
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: america-crime
I was amused, intrigued and educated by Blanche, a housekeeper who tells her story. She's a fine strong Southern lady but due to sending her adopted kids to a good school, she finds herself on a snobbish summer holiday resort outside Boston.

This resort was started by a black man who was not welcome at other resorts, and a good deal of the story is taken up by chatter, memories and thoughts about discrimination and distinctions among the African-American resort visitors. For the smart, attractiv
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was delightful, engaging, intriguing, and still sadly so relevant regarding intraracial relations between Black folks. I’m so happy to have found this series; Blanche is a hoot. I especially enjoyed her spiritualism and spot on politics about men (surprise surprise, they suck). Looking forward to finding and devouring the rest of Blanche White’s mysteries!
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The weakest part of this book is the mystery, which is probably not a good sign for a cozy mystery, but the rest was so good and engaging that I didn't care. While the first book dealt with the issues of a black woman working in the service industry for a affluent white family, this book focuses on the experiences of a dark skinned black woman in the world of fair skinned black folks. Colorism is the phrase we use now, but most of the time the book calls it "Color Struck" which I'm going to go a ...more
Laura Hoffman Brauman
I am in love with Blanche White, an amateur sleuth that keeps finding herself wrapped up in complicated dramas and murder. Blanche is full of strength and wisdom, and is quick with sharp and witty dialogue. In addition to trying to figure out the who and the why of the mystery, Neely explores colorism, classism, and a ton about women's roles. These mysteries are great if you want a fun, fast read and also great if you like a book that makes you think and encourages discussion. I'm surprised that ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
I enjoyed the first book in the Blanche White series, but this one, not as much. Blanche has moved north with her sister's two children, who she is raising. They are attending an elite private school and due to connections there, they have all been invited to Amber Cove, an exclusive resort in Maine for wealthy blacks. Once they arrive, Blanche is smacked with the prejudicial looks of lighter skin blacks. You see, there is even issues about skin colour amongst those who have darker skin. The sto ...more
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is the second in a series, and the second in ebook format, and once again our protagonist finds herself distinctly different from those around her. Blanche is an African-American domestic worker whose children attend a private school and have made connections to spend vacation time at an exclusive upperclass African-American retreat in Maine, including Blanche for a 2 week visit. Once there Blanche is exposed to prejudice and elitism from within the African American community. How she handl ...more
Blanche is a richly and wonderfully complex and yet simple character. Yes, this book was another page-turner and I was TOTALLY shocked at the end. But I have to admit that I enjoyed reading about the struggles of color-struck Black folks more than I did the murder story. I connected with a lot of it having been on the receiving end of color prejudice growing up, and even now only four years ago dealing with the cruel comments from people when I decided to go all natural with my hair.

Such a deep
I chose not to finish this book even though Blanche was an interesting character. I appreciated the focus on the prejudices of color among Black people and the way it influences social standing, economic success, and romantic liaisons. The problem for me was that by the time I was about 1/3 of the way through the book not much else had been introduced and I just got tired of reading that single theme presented over and over again with very little variation or subtlety.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not read much at all during the holiday which is very unusual for me, but I slept so much. Nearly 9 hours each night. Amazing. But I finished this. I really like Blanche and I find myself learning a lot about the experience of black women in America and find that far more compelling than the mysteries.
Lisa Reads & Reviews
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Blanche White is an interesting character and I'm enjoying getting to know her. The murder is secondary as issues of race in society are explored from a fresh and vibrant perspective. ...more
Audiobook : Scribd.
Read by Lisa Renee Pitts.

Letih ok, listening to this. I expected another cosy crime with a twist but the twist took over and the cosy crime was downplayed instead.

I get it, there are issues Ms Neely wanted to air. But it feels like flogging the proverbial dead horse, it was repeated so many times. I get it ok, I do. Tapi letihlah.

A shout-out to Ms Pitts for an outstanding job reading this. Love :)
Megan Sanks
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Blanche is my favorite detective.
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel the need to explain my 4-star rating. I love the character of Blanche White, her insights on herself, her friends, her employers, our culture. I've read the first two books in the series and, both times, was disappointed in the actual plot. The setups are promising but the progress and resolution are just not satisfying. If you are primarily interested in these books because you are looking for a good murder mystery/detective story, you may be disappointed. However, if you are looking for ...more
I agree with Publisher's Weekly that this is not a “mystery with a bit of message but a message with a bit of a mystery.” I didn’t mind because I was happy to spend time with Blanche. ...more
This was an okay read. This mystery was book 2 in the Blanche White series that was popular decades ago (this book was published in 1994). It was enjoyable even though the windup was a bit weak.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A visit to a posh Maine resort doesn’t go the way it is supposed to for Blanche and her family.

There have been many days in the past few years, when it has become apparent that the problems that we have a long way to go for people of color to be granted total equity in the American dream, that I have felt guilty for being white, for having access to privileges I have never even questioned nor, often, been aw
Craig Pittman
I really really loved Barbara Neely's first novel about dark-skinned domestic worker and amateur detective Blanche White, "Blanche on the Lam." I am sorry to report that the second one, "Blanche Among the Talented Tenth," is not as good. It has its pleasures, but the mystery is about as substantial as a morning fog and Blanche seems to solve it in one improbable vision.

In the first book, we meet the ironically named Blanche as she flees a courthouse to avoid being thrown in jail for writing a ba
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is nominally a mystery, I guess, but is mostly a character study of the protagonist, Blanche White, who makes her living cleaning houses. The narrative really focuses on her thoughts and attitudes about race relations as she lives through a few days away from home in an unfamiliar environment. The entire story unfolds at a rather old exclusive resort with cottages originally created and now owned by upper-crust black families who've held them for a couple of generations or so. There are two ...more
Vicki Seldon
I found the characters more interesting than in the first book of the series but the plot dragged and the social commentary, for me, takes away from my enjoyment. I had that reaction to the first book in the series as well.
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-pre-2003
A good read. I must admit to being totally unaware of the discrimination among African-Americans themselves based upon how light or how dark a person is.
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Barbara Neely was 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, ...more

Other books in the series

Blanche White (4 books)
  • Blanche on the Lam (Blanche White, #1)
  • Blanche Cleans Up (Blanche White, #3)
  • Blanche Passes Go (Blanche White, #4)

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