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‘New England White’: Mystery Plus the Kitchen Sink

Like his 2002 smash The Emperor of Ocean Park, Stephen L. Carter’s New England White is a mystery plus. A mystery plus domestic melodrama. A mystery plus social satire. A mystery plus an examination of the black upper crust. Carter, also a law professor at Yale, borrows from the murder and legal-thriller genres, throws in a governmental conspiracy, and even (as the title hints) takes a few more literary cues from Hawthorne and his New England brethren. Some critics feel the result is a little too much; others think it’s just right.

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