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Devil in a Blue Dress introduced Walter Mosley s hero, Ezekiel Easy Rawlins to the reading public A fast flowing narrative with a story somewhat complex in a bare bones kind of way, Mosley takes us into Raymond Chandler country Los Angeles after the war But this is a slightly different perspective because Easy happens to be a black man He becomes a private eye of sorts in order to locate a blonde French girl named Daphne Monet for a white man he doesn t quite trust Daphne has a penchant for black men, and haunts the world of dusty underground bars and hole in the wall jazz joints Easy knows all too well.Finding her may not be Easy s only problem, however, as someone is out to kill him, prompting him to employ his old pal, Mouse, to watch his back while he investigates Mouse is sharply drawn by Mosley as an amoral yet likable killer deadly as an enemy, unequaled as a friend Easy is portrayed by Mosley as a decent man who understands his world and his place in it, but doesn t like it one bit Like Ross Macdonald s, Lew Archer, Easy iscomfortable being an observer of human cruelty and frailty than a participant.Easy s attraction to the beautiful white girl, Daphne Monet, and his uneasiness about what may really be going on, underscores a complex and riveting narrative in which everyone might just have underestimated Easy Mosley makes the larger story here not the case, but the story about a good man in a not so good world, trying to detach himself from it all, only to discover it is part of who he is Mosley s Mouse is unforgettable, and in some respects what Hawk is to Spenser in Robert B Parker s series.Daphne hasto hide in this novel than just money, and its truth is the impetus for everything that happens There is murder here, and greed, and something Easy has seen way too much of, even for a black man in post WWII Los Angeles sorrow This is a fine read and a perfect introduction to Easy Rawlins White Butterfly might be a slightly better book, in my opinion, but Devil in a Blue Dress is highly recommended to mystery fans. Ezekiel Easy Rawlins fought his way across Europe as a decorated soldier during World War II, but in post war Los Angeles, he s a second class citizen because he s black When Easy is fired from a good job due to racism from his boss, he finds himself on the verge of losing the small house he loves A friend of Easy s hooks him up with a white man named Albright who has an opportunity to make some quick cash.Albright is looking for a white girl named Daphne Monet who is known to hang out in black clubs Since Albright won t get any answers if he goes looking for her in those places, he wants Easy to find her and is offering 100 for a week s work That s enough to pay his bills, and even though Albright makes Easy extremely nervous, he doesn t see another way to keep his house.Easy begins looking for Daphne, but he quickly finds himself the target of cops, rich white men and a dangerous hijacker Fortunately for Easy, he has one of the staples of crime fiction in his corner a Bad Ass Criminal Friend Raymond Mouse Alexander is a cheerful little psychopath who has a quick trigger finger and a nose for money, and he s evendangerous than the people Easy is already up against.Mosley created a great character with Easy In some ways, he s an average everyman, just looking to get by during a time when his race makes him a frequent target so he doesn t see the percentage in looking for extra trouble, but Easy also frequently gets fed up with the attitudes of the time and will demand respect when he feels he s being slighted He can also be extremely dangerous when pushed Since he isn t a trained detective, Easy finds out what he needs by tapping the many relationships he has within the black community You won t find Easy dusting for fingerprints, but you may see him gossiping at the barber shop Mosley did a superior job of recreating the world of Watts in 1948 and it s a lot of fun to read about Easy moving through this environment.Mouse is also a great twist on the classic Bad Ass Criminal Friend concept you see in most detective books Usually, the BACFs are loyal to theirlaw abiding friends and follow their lead when their services are called for In this case, Easy is actually terrified of Mouse and with good reason They may be old friends, but if Mouse sees an angle to make money, then he d kill Easy or anyone else that stood in his way without a second thought Dealing with Mouse is like handling nitroglycerin it can be useful but if you re not careful you ll end up splattered all over the walls.This was a great start to a good series The movie version with Denzel Washington is also pretty good with a terrific performance by Don Cheadle as Mouse. This was a great start for me I can t wait to get to the second Easy Rawlins The best thing about this novel was the ambiance and the character of Easy Rawlins So well done I want to watch the movie to compare I recommend Devil in the Blue Dress to anybody looking for a detective novel with a little something else This detective novel takes place in 1940s California with all the fear a black man living in that time period might have to go through Having lost his mortgage, Rawlins accepts a job to look for a white woman who hangs in black bars Rawlins feeling pressured to take the job does and the mystery kicks off.. If you don t immediately start humming the song when you see this title, play it while you read It is a classic Rawlins is just trying to get by Laid off from his job building jets, he needs to make payment on his mortgage or face the loss of his house Drowning his woes at a tiny bar above a meatpacking warehouse, his friend and bar owner Joppy hooks him up with DeWitt Albright Easy can t help but notice that Joppy, an ex heavyweight fighter, is nervous, a sure tip off there s something wrong But Dewitt s a businessman with a simple job for Easy he offers him a hundred dollars to find a white girl known to hang out in the African American community In 1948, that sthan a couple mortgage payments to tide Easy over while he looks for his next job And just exactly what kind of business is it he does I mean, is he a shirt salesman or what They gotta sayin for his line a work, Ease What s that Whatever the market can bear He smiled, looking like a hungry bear himself Whatever the market can bear Dewitt shows Easy a picture of the missing girl Originally black and white, it s been touched up in color After staring at her a full minute I decided that she d be worth looking for if you could get her to smile at you that way Everybody s seen her but no one wants to say where she is unless they get a piece of the action Unfortunately, the devil has a blue dress, no doubt, and she seeds a trail of destruction in her wake Part of the reason she breathes scandal is that her relationships transcend race, taboo at the time Part of the reason is that the crowd she runs with includes pimps and underworld businessmen.Soon the bodies start piling up, and the cops haul Easy in But Easy fought in World War II, and if there is one thing he can t tolerate, it is disrespect He decides to take control of the situation instead of letting himself be played Somewhere along the way I had developed the feeling that I wasn t going to outlive the adventure I was having There was no way out but to run, and I couldn t run, so I decided to milk all those white people for all the money they d let go of His detective work takes him around various hangouts in L.A, including Ricardo s, a rough bar that you don t go into without an inside man Joppy had taken me to Ricardo s a few times after we locked up his bar It was a serious kind of place peopled with jaundice eyed bad men who smoked and drank heavily while they waited for a crime they could commit Unsuccessful, he heads for a cut at the local barbershop, sure source of news and a neutral zone in the black community.Devil in a Blue Dress won Moseley the Shamus award for first PI mystery, and it is easy ha ha to see why Succinct but encompassing descriptions that create a feel for L.A., the mood of post WWII America, and an even better sense of what it felt like to be poor and black with the deck stacked against you The experience of race weaves in and out of the storyline without being dominating or self pitying, and has all theimpact for being so dispassionate It affects Easy s life in so very many ways that it is an indirect commentary on race relations in the late 40s The dialect has the flavor of Easy s southern heritage, contrasting with thecrisp language in his head It makes for a nice reading balance, as it can be a reading challenge when dialect used for an entire book This was an enjoyable, fast moving story that put Mosley on my authors to watch list Four easy stars.And, of course, there s the movie.Cross posted at Having read Raymond Chandler s The Big Sleep earlier this year, it s easy to make the comparison to this novel, Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley After all, they re both hard boiled crime novels, both set in Los Angeles in the 1st half of the 20th century, and both debut their famous private eye protagonists, Philip Marlowe and Easy Rawlins, who would appear in multiple novels, and even on the big screen But that s pretty much where the similarities end Easy Rawlins pwas an African American living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles in the late 1940s Unlike Marlowe, he had no training as a private eye, no background at all Out of work, he takes the job of finding someone, the beautiful woman in the blue dress, and his life is started on a new path This novel was written in the 1990s which surprised me Mosley does a good job of capturing the feel of life in 1940s Watts, the prejudice of white vs black, police vs black, the struggle, not to get ahead, just to get by The story, the mystery, was riveting but easy to follow Easy Rawlins was a very likeable and believable character. Ezekiel Easy Rawlins is a proud and unapologetic black man in 1940s Los Angeles He has just been laid off from his factory job because he let his independence show too openly toward his white supervisor While hanging out at a local bar, a menacing, heavy set white man dressed all in white approaches him with a job Because the bartender vouches for him, Easy takes the job After all, he has a mortgage to pay What is this job Find some 22 year old blond knockout, Daphne Monet, who frequents jazz clubs and has been seen in the company of blacks, for an unnamed client Seems simple enough But as Easy starts investigating and events unfold, we see the world through his eyes, where rich and powerful white men are dangerous and mysterious.Easy is not one drawn to violence He ll use it if he has to, but he doesn t lead with his fists Not so his childhood friend, Mouse Easy isn t happy that his old friend showed up uninvited, but it turns out to be a good thing that he did Despite his tendency to shoot first and ask questions later, Mouse is a likable character who can almost make you laugh while he s beating someone half to death And with Mouse around, Easy doesn t have to get his hands dirty.Easy Rawlins is a character we can root for He s well rounded, but flawed He has doubts, insecurities, and even falls victim to his own heart from time to time He didn t choose to be a private investigator the looming threat of poverty is what keeps him going But he s good at it The plot moves along pretty quickly with all the tried and true red herrings, misdirections, dead ends, and desperate moments of classic mystery fiction. .READ EBOOK ♗ Devil in a Blue Dress ♋ In Los Angeles Of The Late S, Easy Rawlins, A Black War Veteran, Has Just Been Fired From His Job At A Defense Plant Easy Is Drinking In A Friend S Bar, Wondering How He Ll Meet His Mortgage, When A White Man In A Linen Suit Walks In, Offering Good Money If Easy Will Simply Locate Miss Daphne Monet, A Blonde Beauty Known To Frequent Black Jazz Clubs This book is one of my favorite detective novels Ezekiel Easy Rawlins is a young black WWII veteran who has lost his job and is eager to jump at an opportunity when a shady businessman hires him to locate a pretty white woman named Daphne Monet, who is known for gettin her party on at black nightclubs.This is not only one of the best debut detective novels, but also features what I think is one of the best literary characters, especially in the detective genre I think that Easy is a wonderful character and dissimilar to other noir detectives in a number of ways He is a totally reluctant investigator He doesn t have an office or a secretary, and proves to be great at the job because of his wits, his relationships, his awareness of race and being in touch with his community And you can actually believe why women are attracted to him It s great witnessing the change in him as he uncovers secrets that he is unprepared for I love how evocative the book is of 1940 s inner city Los Angeles and it s variety of characters, especially in the South Central area It has a complicated, intriguing plot, and because of Walter Mosley s soulful and effortless prose, this mystery never got boring.An awesome running start to a solid series that evolves in great ways The series should definitely be read in order so you can enjoy Easy s personal and growth as he acquires new friends and family, but other standout novels in the series include A Little Yellow Dog, as well as the later novels like Little Scarlet, Cinnamon Kiss, and Blonde Faith. Devil in a Blue Dress is an excellent hard boiled mystery It is also a fascinating examination of race and masculinities in late 1940s Los Angeles That it manages to do both these things at the same time, seamlessly, is little short of breathtaking Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook First let me say that I don t know why it took me so long to start this series I always knew that I would enjoy them once I got started However, I admit that I was just a tiny bit nervous starting this one because I attempted to read Killing Johnny Fry early in 2017 and it was no bueno I DNF d that sucker and never looked back It was Mosley s take on an erotic story and let me tell ya, it wasn t my cup of tea in any way shape or form Just no Nuh uh Naw, y all Devil in a Blued Dress on the other hand, is a perfect example of why Walter Mosley is such a respected and widely read author Mosley skillfully injects social commentary into a murder mystery and makes the story aboutthan just who did the dead and why Mosley cleanly and unflinchingly exposes his readers to what it means for Easy to be a black man in post World War II America, and it isn t a comfortable or easy existence The injustice, intolerance, and general inequity that Easy experiences almost daily just by being what he was born to be allows Mosley to make his reader just as uneasy as Easy is himself Mosley inserts so many black truths and realities so seamlessly that the world that Mosley exposes feels like an up close and personal look into someone s actual life I went into Devil in a Blue Dress thinking that I would get a really well written and entertaining mystery and that s about it I knew that Easy Rawlins is a beloved character and that the entire series is well loved and widely read, but I was not expecting Mosley to deliver such rich and complicated characters that would get me excited to see just how deep Mosley is going to dig in future books The whole cast of characters in Devil in a Blue Dress are well fleshed out, even the ones that are revolting I was surprised that I found myself needing to mark conversations and other sections because they stood out so clearly to me I thought that I was just going to be entertained, not prodded to think about real issues What I loved the most about reading this book is the way that Mosley taps you on the shoulder in different scenes and basically says You seeing this crap Yeah, THIS is Easy s reality Mosley is another author that I am kicking myself for not getting read sooner in my life Better late than never, and because of being so late to the game I now have the pleasure of being able to read through thirteenEasy Rawlins books without having to wait for new installments Where you can find meMonlatable Book Reviews Twitter MonlatReaderInstagram readermonicaFacebook Monica Reeds