Posted on March 11, 2020 at 2:41 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Barbara Neely, who became a pioneering and award-winning author later in life, died last week at the age of seventy-eight.

Her heroine, Blanche White, wasn’t the first black female sleuth, but she was noteworthy for solving mysteries while working as a maid for white people — and doing it in mainstream publishing, according to the New York Times.

Neely spent the first few decades of her working life as a social activist, launching her Blanche White series in her fifties, and went on to earn some of the mystery genre’s top honors while doing so.

You can read more about Neely’s life in the NY Times obituary.

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