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Who Killed Blanche Dubois?    by Carole Buggé order for
Who Killed Blanche Dubois?
by Carole Buggé
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 1999 (1999)
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

This novel starts well, with an interesting introduction of the main character Claire Rawlings, a mystery book editor who works in New York. Similarly, the premise is interesting and unusual: a precocious thirteen-year-old, Meredith Lawrence, who fancies herself a gifted amateur detective, insinuates herself into Claire's life. The two then solve the murder of Blanche Dubois, one of Claire's star writers.

The circumstances of the murder are provocative: Blanche dies after eating a poisoned apple (shades of Snow White), and had recently turned her talents to writing an exposé of the Ku Klux Klan, no doubt unearthing truths that some might prefer to keep hidden. She had also aroused strong emotions in others: jealousy on the part of another writer, passion in a man hopelessly in love with her, and general irritability in those offended by her arrogance.

The author spends a great deal of time on self-examination on the part of the main character, who also analyzes her relationship with her lover, her friends, and young Meredith. Although the descriptions are strong, I found this analysis rather overdone (and the repetitive quotes from The Erl-king were definitely excessive). Claire's uncertainties and self-doubts are in painful contrast to Meredith's assertive self-confidence. The pace of the story did pick up about two-thirds of the way through the book.

This is the first in a series teaming Claire and Meredith. I'm not sure that I'm willing to pursue their adventures; but the novel did hold my interest enough that I persevered to the end.

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