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Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  13,204 Ratings  ·  788 Reviews
Los Angeles, 1948: Easy Rawlins is a black war veteran just 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 Money, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

Hear more of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins
Published October 28th 2009 by Audible Inc. (first published 1990)
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Dan Schwent
Feb 07, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
When a jobless World War II vet named Easy Rawlins is hired to find a woman, he finds himself ensnared in a web of lies and murder. Can Easy find Daphne Monet without becoming another victim? And what secrets is Daphne Monet carrying?

Devil in a Blue Dress is a throwback to the pioneers of noir like Hammett, Chandler, and Cain. Only this PI is black and his case takes place in the black Los Angeles of 1948. Mosley's black LA is just as vivid as Chandler's seedy Hollywood underbelly.

Easy's support
Apr 14, 2013 Carol. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of detective noir
Shelves: mystery, multi-culti
If you don't immediately start humming the song when you see this title, play it while you read. It is a classic:

Easy 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 sur
Feb 18, 2011 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 bl
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Vialet
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 wonderf
Dec 16, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bingers of Luke Cage on Netflix
Shelves: noir, 2016
"That girl is the devil," says Easy Rawlins of his femme fatale: "She got evil in every pocket." And that's why I love noir.

Walter Mosley has such a natural feel for the tropes of noir that I didn't realize he'd written it in 1990, instead of 1948 when it's set. Here's your twisty plot, your dangerous woman, your breathless prose. The major difference is that it's all black. (Chester Himes pioneered African American noir with 1957's A Rage in Harlem, which is an awesome book.)

The law generally p
May 15, 2016 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She's a real humdinger and I like 'em like that.
Shorty Long and William "Mickey" Stevenson

The story of a man hired to find a mysterious woman is an old one and it takes a special writer to make it seem fresh and exciting. I think Mosley has succeeded here with his first Easy Rawlins mystery. There are twists and turns a-plenty and interesting characters/suspects add to the fun.

Rawlins is a richly-drawn, complex character. A WWII vet, he has been screwed around enough in the past to stay alert. H
It's so funny how things kind of fit together sometimes. I downloaded this audiobook during a BOGO sale from Audible just because I liked the reader's voice and it sounded like an entertaining story, but then I didn't think too much of it. I then proceeded to listen to an audiobook about the way that slavery was continued though WWII (just called something else). After finishing that, I decided to go for Devil in a Blue Dress, though I didn't really consciously think of how that would tie into w ...more
Anthony Vacca
Jun 06, 2016 Anthony Vacca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a pleasant surprise it was that, after a shaky first half (this seems to be a reoccurring curse for first-time private-eye mystery writers across the decades), this novel revealed itself to be such an atmospheric and vital addition to what is unabashedly my favorite genre niche! Two of my favorite moments in Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely and the unfortunately fated video game masterpiece LA Noire (particularly "The Black Caesar Mission") feature our detectives taking quick detours ...more
Apr 29, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Raymond Chandler could probably be called the Grand Master of this style of genre fiction, his style and content leading the way for many pale imitators to follow. Walter Mosley's first Easy Rawlins book is perhaps better than any Chandler I've read.

I think the true test for me is the dialogue and there were times when I was imagining Bogart as Marlowe reading the part of Easy; surely there can be no higher praise for this genre?

What Mosley does better is to add the extra layers to the narrative
Apr 26, 2008 Dfordoom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Devil in a Blue Dress was Walter Mosley’s debut novel. It’s a private eye novel set in Los Angeles in 1948. What makes Devil in a Blue Dress different is that this private eye, Easy Rawlins, is black. In style and in feel it’s very close to Raymond Chandler, and it even follows Chandler in having a plot that is quite amazingly convoluted. Like Chandler Mosley is far more interested in character and in atmosphere than in merely telling a story. He doesn’t write as well as Chandler, but then very ...more
Cathy DuPont
Jun 29, 2013 Cathy DuPont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Noir and hard boiled genre lovers
This was a great book however, due to circumstances beyond my control, I read it in short time sequences and spurts. I hate to read books that way. I like to read two hours or more at each sitting but it didn’t happen here but it’s not going to reflect the four stars I gave it.

And certainly, the ending, that in itself deserves the fourth star.

This was a first time effort for Walter Mosley in 1990 who is now an established and well respected author.

His protagonist, Easy (Ezekiel) Rawlins is such
I loved this book because it didn't pull any punches and showed the realism of racist LA in the 40's, and because it is so refreshing to have the plot center around the African American community, and an African American protagonist. This book proves that even when white men are pulling most/all of the strings, the most interesting/important story may still be what goes on in the lives of those people whose strings are being pulled.

I enjoyed the observations and philosophizing from Easy Rawlins
In 1948 Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins is a no-nonsense black war veteran who's been fired from his factory job right as his mortgage is coming due. To make ends meet, he takes a job from a white gangster to find the whereabouts of Daphne, a tricky white femme fatale, for a friend of his. Mosley's debut detective novel is more than just a mystery story. Its well-drawn characters show the gritty realism of 1940s Los Angeles living as a black man and in poverty, including issues with the police. Along ...more
Nov 02, 2013 Franky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress is several things: social commentary about race relations and prejudices during this time period, noir with voice-over from antihero, crime tale with twists, tension and suspense. There are also some uncomfortable themes scattered throughout. Money is also a recurrent theme, a prime motivator for many characters, and Easy falls prey to this lure as well.

Mosley does an effective job of making post-World War 2 Los Angeles come alive with realism and grittiness. Amid
This was excellent.

If you look closely, you can tell it was written more recently than, say, The Big Sleep - because it looks at its surroundings more closely. This is good noir that acknowledges that there are power dynamics at play, between black and white, men and women, abled and disabled. This is noir that knows what it's looking at, and with less tunnel vision than some white bloke in a mackintosh. That's a product of more recent storytelling than the 1950s - the oldest example I can recal
Mar 28, 2009 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any mystery novel set in Los Angeles is going to get compared to Raymond Chandler, although Chandler was just pretty much taking Carrol John Daly and transplanting him to LA. I mention this because--historical novel, LA, private eye, noir genre--comparisons to Chandler are natural. But those are surface similarities, genre similarities. In Devil and a Blue Dress, Walter Mosely is doing many new things, things that make it well worth reading.

First, if you've read any of these hard boiled detectiv
David Yoon
Sep 23, 2016 David Yoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s 1948 Los Angeles and Easy Rawlins suddenly finds himself out of a job with a mortgage to pay.

He loves his home and the pride he gets owning his spot. Easy isn’t about to lose his place which leads him to taking DeWitt Albright’s money. His gut tells him he should know better even with Joppy’s introduction but it’s a simple gig. Find one Daphne Monet and tell Albright where she is. Nothing else. But there’s no such thing as easy money and the bodies start piling up.

I’m woefully ignorant of
James Barker
Apr 27, 2016 James Barker rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada-us
I've been fairly dazzled by Walter Mosley's work before- but the strange and interesting idea that is 'The Man in My Basement' is not what he is best known for. That would be Easy Rawlins and the whole series of books connected with him, of which 'Devil in a Blue Dress' is the first.

I have to say this is not a genre I would typically enjoy and perhaps that is why it didn't come alive for me. The story, the dialogue- it all seemed too much of a pastiche to make it interesting. Only the character
Mar 01, 2016 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
this was a quick and interesting read. it got a little convoluted in the end - the plot was easy enough to follow, but when rawlins goes into an explanation at the end of the story, it comes out way more tangled than it really was. so that was a bit odd. i liked the time and setting for the story, post-WWII, los angeles. save for the mention of the cost of a mortgage payment ($64), and other costs ($3 for a bottle of booze, $54 for 3 cases) this could be a timeless tale. i also very much appreci ...more
You may be surprised to see that I shelved this title under historical mysteries, but that is surely what it is. Moseley uses some of the feel of Philip Marlowe but sets the story in 1948 Los Angeles with a cast of black characters including his private eye Easy Rawlings. This is as gritty as any noir mystery with more dead bodies than most.
Oct 30, 2013 Cyndi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast, spare and gritty. So noir, you'll be searching for a flashlight. I see more of Mr. Rawlins in my reading future.
Vasilis Kalandaridis
Πολύ ωραίο βιβλιαράκι.Λογικό μα μου αρεσει γιατί ο Walter Mosley είναι αγαπημένος συγγραφέας του George Pelecanos.Κλασσική ιςτορια,κάποιος ψάχνει κάποια που εχει κανει διαφορα σε κάποιους.Μια χαρά.
Dec 26, 2013 Harold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable entertainment. Like watching a noir movie. Nothing deep or difficult-just a fun romp through mid 40s LA.
I get why Walter Mosley is so highly recommended because the writing in this book is fantastic. Easy Rawlins was a great narrator and the ragtag group of secondary characters were so vividly described at times I felt like I was in the room with all of them. However, the mystery was a bit convoluted and the story was at its best when the focus turned to Easy's life, how he became the person he was, and how well suited he was to PI work.
Jun 02, 2015 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Είχα αρκετές προσδοκίες για το βιβλίο αυτό, λόγω διαφόρων θετικών σχολίων από δω και από κει αλλά και γιατί έχει μια καλή βαθμολογία στο Goodreads, με πολλές χιλιάδες αξιολογήσεις, όμως δεν μπορώ να πω ότι διάβασα κάτι το ιδιαίτερο. Είμαι φανατικός των νουάρ μυθιστορημάτων και έχω διαβάσει δεκάδες από αυτά, οπότε θεωρώ τον εαυτό μου ειδικό στο είδος. Το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο με άφησε με ανάμικτες εντυπώσεις.

Για να ξεμπερδεύω, ορίστε μια περίληψη: Βρισκόμαστε στο Λος Άντζελες του 1948 και παρακολου
Holger Haase
Oct 06, 2013 Holger Haase rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A modern Noir about a black Private Eye in 1948 involved in an ever more complex investigation featuring mysterious murders, racial prejudices and more than its fair share of paedophile/incestuous relationships.

I always heard great things about the Easy Rawlins series of books and was curious whether I'd find a new series to explore.

And though I found this to be a quick'n'easy and overall enjoyable read I did feel that it lacked the certain je-ne-sais-quoi that I'd associate with most of the bet
David B
Jan 06, 2014 David B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walter Mosley wins half the battle of writing a good detective story by coming up with a unique, interesting protagonist. Easy Rawlins, a black man recently unemployed in post-War LA and desperate to make the payments on his little house, accepts the assignment to look for a white woman who frequents black nightclubs. He has access to a level of south LA society that white men do not, which makes his assistance invaluable to certain powerful individuals.

This first novel in the Easy Rawlins serie
Feb 16, 2012 G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numero ...more
More about Walter Mosley...

Other Books in the Series

Easy Rawlins (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • A Red Death (Easy Rawlins #2)
  • White Butterfly (Easy Rawlins #3)
  • Black Betty (Easy Rawlins #4)
  • A Little Yellow Dog (Easy Rawlins #5)
  • Gone Fishin' (Easy Rawlins #6)
  • Bad Boy Brawly Brown (Easy Rawlins #7)
  • Six Easy Pieces (Easy Rawlins #8)
  • Little Scarlet (Easy Rawlins #9)
  • Cinnamon Kiss (Easy Rawlins #10)
  • Blonde Faith (Easy Rawlins #11)

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