Skip to main content

Mystery Writer Barbara Neely Tackles Race, Class, and Gender

Neely has brought a strong African-American female voice to the genre. The heroine of her debut book, "Blanche on the Lam," is Blanche White, a 40-year old housekeeper with big thighs, a wry sense of humor, and a jaundiced view of the rich. Blanche is on the lam from a 30-day jail sentence for a bad check; she can hide in plain sight, because of her invisibility as a black housekeeper. One reviewer writes though the book works well as a crime novel, it's "less about a mysterious murder. . . than it is about social injustice, race relations, and the unique position African-American women hold in our society."


Other segments from the episode on February 18, 1993

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, February 18, 1993: Interview with Phillip Longman; Interview with Barbara Neely; Review of the book "Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence."


Transcripts Not Available.

Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

You May Also like

Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


Recently on Fresh Air Available to Play on NPR


Daughter of Warhol star looks back on a bohemian childhood in the Chelsea Hotel

Alexandra Auder's mother, Viva, was one of Andy Warhol's muses. Growing up in Warhol's orbit meant Auder's childhood was an unusual one. For several years, Viva, Auder and Auder's younger half-sister, Gaby Hoffmann, lived in the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. It was was famous for having been home to Leonard Cohen, Dylan Thomas, Virgil Thomson, and Bob Dylan, among others.


This fake 'Jury Duty' really put James Marsden's improv chops on trial

In the series Jury Duty, a solar contractor named Ronald Gladden has agreed to participate in what he believes is a documentary about the experience of being a juror--but what Ronald doesn't know is that the whole thing is fake.


This Romanian film about immigration and vanishing jobs hits close to home

R.M.N. is based on an actual 2020 event in Ditrău, Romania, where 1,800 villagers voted to expel three Sri Lankans who worked at their local bakery.

There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.
Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue