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Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins Mysteries) (English and English Edition) Paperback – September 17, 2002

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Product Details

  • Series: Easy Rawlins Mysteries
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (September 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743451791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743451796
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins has few illusions about the world--at least not about the world of a young black veteran in the late 1940s in Southern California. His stint in the Army didn't do anything to dissuade him from his belief that justice doesn't come cheap, especially for men like him. "I thought there might be some justice for a black man if he had money to grease it," Easy says. Fired from his job on the line at an aircraft plant, he's in danger of losing his home, symbol of his tenuous hold on middle class status. That's a good enough reason to accept a white man's offer to pay him for finding a beautiful, mysterious Frenchwoman named Daphne Monet, last seen in the company of a well-known gangster. Easy's search takes the reader to an L.A. few writers have shown us before--the mean streets of South Central, the after-hours joints in dirty basement clubs, the cheap hotels and furnished rooms, the places people go when they don't want to be found. Evocative of a past time, and told in a style that's reminiscent of Hammet and Chandler, yet uniquely his own, Mosley's depiction of an inherently decent man in a violent world of intrigue and corruption rang up big sales when it was published in 1990 (although the movie version, with Denzel Washington as Easy, never found the audience it deserved). The minor characters are deftly and brilliantly developed, especially Mouse, who saves Easy's life even as he draws him deeper into the mystery of Daphne Monet. Like many of Mosley's characters, Mouse makes a return appearance in the succeeding Easy Rawlins mysteries, such as A Red Death, Black Betty, and White Butterfly, every one of which is as good as Devil in a Blue Dress, his first. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Reissue of the first book in Moseley's Easy Rawlins mystery series, in which Easy is hired to track down a woman who disappeared with someone else's money.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Walter Mosley is one of America's most celebrated and beloved writers. His books have won numerous awards and have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Mosley is the author of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins series of mysteries, including national bestsellers Cinnamon Kiss, Little Scarlet, and Bad Boy Brawly Brown; the Fearless Jones series, including Fearless Jones, Fear Itself, and Fear of the Dark; the novels Blue Light and RL's Dream; and two collections of stories featuring Socrates Fortlow, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, for which he received the Anisfield-Wolf Award, and Walkin' the Dog. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery VINE VOICE on August 26, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There aren't many good African American mystery writers and there are even fewer black private eyes that you'd want to read about. Walter Mosley and Easy Rawlins, however, satisfy both of those criteria in solid fashion.
More than that, though, this is simply a good, fun read .

The setting is Los Angeles in the 1940s, probably the most fruitful noir time and place there is. During those boom years of post-war expansion, a man could make a good living and even buy a place of his own.

That's all that Easy Rawlins wants. When he's laid-off, though, he can't make his mortgage. He's going to lose his house and he'd rather do almost anything than that. He finds, though, that he has to do more than he bargained for.

When a mysterious white man offers him $100 to find a missing white woman, it seems simple enough. Nothing, of course, is ever as it seems. Rawlins quickly finds himself in trouble and there is no easy way out. It takes a hardness that he tries to hide for him to come out alive.

For a first novel, this book is very solid with a lot of personality. Mosley captures a people and culture that we don't get to read much about. Easy is a good, fresh character; one of the best new entries to the mystery scene in a while.

This book is recommended to everyone who enjoys a good hard-boiled mystery, especially fans of Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett, and Ross Macdonald
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Wolverton VINE VOICE on May 5, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Easy Rawlins is not the typical private detective, but he is the freshest one to come around in a long time. Easy is an African American WWII veteran from Texas, now living in 1948 L.A. where he proudly owns a modest home. The home is all he has to be proud of since he got fired from his job at a defense plant. Life for Easy is not easy at all. Then one day, a white man dressed in a white suit offers Easy good money to locate a beautiful blonde known to hang out at black clubs. For a man with a mortgage and no money coming in, the offer is too good to be true. But then offers like this usually are.
The plot sounds typical, but Mosley's writing is anything but. Mosley paints a clear and atmospheric picture of racial segregation in post-war L.A., but that picture is not overexposed. Easy not only has to endure the dangers of finding this girl, he must do it in a hostile background where white policemen and higher-ups look for any type of crime that they might pin on him. The story of the transplanted man from the south living on the west coast is not unfamiliar, but making him a black man facing prejudice on every side makes the story more alive and the plot more tension-filled. Again, this is not done in a heavy-handed way, but with a subtle touch that makes you want to turn the pages.
Mosley is very much at home with the hard-boiled style of crime noir and it shows on every page. This is not a Hammett or Chandler re-hash. This is a fresh, lively, exciting mystery from a very fine writer. If you haven't experienced Mosley and Easy Rawlins, pick up the Blue Dress and try it on for size.
215 pages
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ross H Ostrander on April 18, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Walter Mosley's Devil In a Blue Dress is a fantastic mystery/crime drama set in Post World War II Los Angeles. The protagonist Easy Rawlins finds himself an unlikely but strong willed black detective sorting out a mystery-in-progress. The case begins as a simple `lost female' case but soon spins and develops into a multiple tiered story of blackmail and cover-up. The case begins to involve everyone from black bootleggers and gunmen to white mayoral candidates and prejudiced policemen. The beauty of the novel is its ability to put Easy in both situations of Black culture and White aristocracy. Both situations Easy runs headlong into, always managing to keep his pride intact. Like Chandler's Marlowe the story seems to evolve as characters fly in and out of Easy's life. But unlike Chandler, Mosley has accomplished the effect of creating truly perilous drama and action. There is a sense of immediacy and danger when Easy tells his story. Much of this feeling could be explained by the fact that Easy must battle not only for the truth, but also his right to grasp the truth as a black man. The novel works on a cultural critique level, making judgments and offering lessons on the hardships of American blacks and the importance of race in American culture.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nino Brown on October 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Unemployed and days away from losing his hard won house, Easy Rawlins takes a job he knows better than to get involved with. It sounds easy enough, look around some local black nightspots for a girl on the lam. Rawlins knows, though, that more is going on than he's being told. Shortly after asking his first questions in his investigation, Rawlins is dragged in by the police - turns out some of his recent contacts have been murdered. Rawlins has few friends and his wits to help him find the woman, get paid, avoid being charged with murder and, perhaps most difficult, stay alive.

In Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley creates an attractive protagonist and effectively evokes a time and place (albeit one that likely never existed). In so doing he provides a scene in which the reader very much wants to be involved - gritty, smart, sexual. The narrative, however, goes little beyond evoking a background. We learn very little about Easy Rawlins and his associates. Indeed, we learn very little about the story we are told. The narrative could be effectively summarized in a few short pages and the material surrounding the plot oftentimes does nothing more than fill the space. Interesting? Yes. Satisfying? Unfortunately not.
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