Barbara Neely is a prolific American author, best known for her Blanche White Mystery Series. Born on November 17, 1941, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Neely grew up in the South, where she experienced firsthand the injustices of racial segregation and discrimination. Her early life experiences inspired her to become a passionate advocate for civil rights and social justice.
Neely began her career as a writer in the 1970s, working for various black nationalist publications. She published her first novel, "Blanche on the Lam," in 1992. The book introduced readers to Blanche White, an African American domestic worker who uses her wits and resourcefulness to solve mysteries while navigating the complexities of race and class in the American South. The book received critical acclaim and was awarded the Agatha Award for Best First Novel.
Neely went on to publish four more novels in the Blanche White Mystery Series: "Blanche Among the Talented Tenth," "Blanche Cleans Up," "Blanche Passes Go," and "Blanche Knotts and the Panther of Ssangbongsa." Her work has been lauded for its nuanced depictions of race, class, and gender, as well as its clever plotting and engaging characters.
In addition to her success as a novelist, Neely has written for television and film, including episodes of the hit TV series, "Desperate Housewives." She has also been an accomplished activist and essayist, using her platform to advance causes such as prison reform, reproductive rights, and racial justice.
Today, Neely is recognized as one of the preeminent voices in contemporary crime fiction, and her work continues to resonate with readers around the world. Her legacy as a talented writer, fierce advocate, and pioneer of diversity in literature is perhaps best summed up in the words of mystery author Walter Mosley: "Barbara Neely's Blanche White is like a glass of sweet tea in August: she is cool, refreshing, and always leaves you wanting more."
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