Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Black Betty ” as Want to Read:
Black Betty
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Black Betty (Easy Rawlins #4)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,756 ratings  ·  90 reviews
The New York Times Book Review ended its rave for White Butterfly, the most recent novel in Walter Mosley's acclaimed mystery series, by saying "I can't wait to see where Easy Rawlins turns up next. And when". Black Betty holds the sure-to-be-bestselling answer. The place is Los Angeles. The year is 1961, the dawn of a hopeful era for America's black citizens. Easy Rawlins ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Pocket Books (first published 1994)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Black Betty, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Black Betty

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Larry Bassett
Walter Mosley is a Goodreads experience for me. Never heard of him and never would have except for GR. He seemed like an author I ought to read although out of my normal realm. I am one of those infamous white males. Mosey writes about Easy Rawlins, a black guy immersed in a black milieu of 1960s Los Angeles. So I go to my favorite online used book dealer, , to buy some books in the Easy Rawlins series. As is often the case, the first book in a series is not available used and ch ...more
Wonderfully convoluted as always, this adventure finds Easy Rawlins at his worst; an angry man who makes bad decisions that get people killed. Yet as ever he displays those characteristics which make him a likable noir hero, a willingness to put his life on the line for his beliefs and the pursuit of what's right and true and justice and all that other stuff.

Whilst Mosley is as formulaic as ever there's something infinitely readable about these books, unlike other too predictable authors in the
With Black Betty, Mosley delivers what you'd expect from an Easy Rawlins mystery if you came to it having already read a few others such as I had. The crime to be solved is made to seem convoluted but ultimately turns out to be relatively simple. Yet as with each book in this series it isn't really about the plot. It's about Easy's singular way of seeing and evaluating and dealing with the people he encounters along the way, his perspective on a period of time that seems both long ago and immedi ...more
Alvin Horn
A Book Drenched In History January 9, 2003
Review by Judith W. Colombo

Walter Mosley doesn't just write mysteries. He creates a historical landscape peopled with vibrant and authentic characters who like most of us are flawed and lacking in some way. "Black Betty" is Mosley at his best. The mystery is enthralling and many layered, the atmosphere electric, and the villains exquisitely evil.

The time is 1961 the era of Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, and the beginning of The Civil rights movement.
Walter Mosley manages to be an extraordinarily prolific writer but at the same time one of great quality, who has shown equal facility in tough but politically and socially literate crime writing and also in witty and wise post-modern science-fiction.

Black Betty is a fine demonstration of his craft. His particular skill is in weaving the world into his tales. The mystery is well-constructed and satisfyingly tangled, featuring multiple murders, corruption and racial and class divisions. However t
I'm not quite sure how to rate this one. I more than just "liked it," because it's hard not to become involved in the lives of Mosley's complex, beaten-down characters and admire the writer who is able to write a simple mystery plot three dimensionally. Easy Rawlins is not the only real person in this book; all of them seem like flesh and blood humans. Mosley manages to create real characters while also giving Easy's voice a genuine noir cadence, which sounds authentic to Easy rather than being ...more
Brandon Mueller
What a spectacular book! I have no idea how Walter Mosley does it! Once again, Walter Mosley has put together another one of his amazing mystery-crime novels, and this time, I think that he has done his absolute best so far. This man simply knows how to write mystery novels, and he does it in a way unlike any other mystery book I have read. This novel, "Black Betty", is part of the "Easy Rawlins Mystery Series", and it is the fourth book in the series. Like his previous books in the series, this ...more
Rae Lewis-Thornton
Well, it seems that RLT Reads Book Club has gone straight to hell in a hand basket. I know some of it was my fought. Over the last two years my health has been a handful and I have been off my reading game and not able to keep up. Trying to balance my health and all of RLT Brands is two full time jobs wrapped up into one. But I made an executive decision over this past holiday; to take some time for me. Life is to short to not do some of what you enjoy. So I'm back to my favorite pass time on th ...more
Jo Ann Fishburn
I love Easy Rawlins. He is honorable and courageous, able to show his vulnerability, loving and loyal, especially with his wonderful kids and his friends (not all so wonderful). That said, I think I have to stop reading the series for awhile. The world in which Easy lives is so vicious and violent that it casts a darkness over your life when you're reading the books. I've read chronologically the first five in the series, which are set in Texas and LA from WWII to the presidency of JFK and the c ...more
Zen Cho
I find Mosley's books very entertaining and easy to read. I'm still not sure what to think of his treatment of gender, but I should think he's a lot better on women than other writers of noowah, and he's a LOT better on race.

I recognised the structure of this story -- millions of things happening to an increasingly stressed out, bleedy dude who is cynical but secretly wants to do good -- from pretty much all of Terry Pratchett's Watch books. Vimes is a noir detective! How funny that I might neve
aPriL does feral sometimes
The most complex and very good. However, very very dark. Innocence cannot be preserved on any level. Easy is so smart but he is full of uncontrolled demons. Only his children save him from his worst impulses. He seems to pursue justice to spite the universe rather than to help, especially since victory against bad guys is temporary and the saved are rarely deserving except for perhaps possessing charm, beauty or bruised trustfulness.
Started off so great: all the details of Easy's life that I love -- where he's living, how are the kids, and still debating literature with Miss Eto at the library (Easy identifies with both Huck and Jim, depending on the situation, and banning Twain from schools smacks of white people's discomfort with racism). There is a large cast of characters, and I sometimes had difficulty keeping everyone straight. Many of the old characters are still around but on the periphery. The central mystery start ...more
Love the atmosphere Mosley creates of post-war (WWII) LA. Had a bit of trouble keeping the characters straight, but as the conclusion approached, they all came together. Very good mystery/detective book. Because several of the characters use dialect in their speech, I would love to listen to these books. Sometimes I have to slow down to read that.
another of the Easy Rawlins stories. Interesting characters, thoughtfully used to illustrate deeper social conditions and relationships, especially racial. But without really beating you over the head with it. You root for some, you hope some get the come-uppance they deserve. Only on a rare occasion, do they slip a little into charicature, or stereotype.
I haven't read this series before, and I figured after reading an interview with Mosley, why not? Clarke Peters plays Easy in this audio version. While the mystery is somewhat easy to figure out, huge points for not making it a fairy tale race story. Harsh, and good because of that.
Jan 24, 2009 SUSAN OWEN GLASER rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition

I love the way Walter Mosley depicts the time of the 50s and 60s. He described places I visit now in LA during this time. And you find yourself wondering… Great book. Read the complete serious when you can, you’ll embrace the characters.
One of the Easy Rawlins series. Read this immediately after the Socrates books - and I think I like Mosley's ex-con short stories more! But I'm a fan of just about anything he's written.
What can I say? I am a Walter Mosely FAN!!! I have read just about EVERYthing he published. I especially like the Easy Rawlins stories. i wish they would do more movies of his work too.
Jeff Tucker
I love Walter Mosley mysteries and this is another good one.
RK Byers
probably the best book in the Rawlings series.
Easy reading; won of my favorite in the series.
Black Betty features the return of Easy Rawlins. He is once again plunged into a mystery, this time involving a mysterious temptress from his past "Elizabeth Eady" or "Black Betty". Mouse has just been freed from jail and looking for someone to murder and that someone might be Easy!

Black Betty is a more sophisticated tale than White Butterfly featuring many more characters and plot twists. The book actually includes 2-3 subplots - (1) Where is Black Betty? (2) Who put Mouse in jail and who will
Sean Cronin
It's probably no surprise to folks on this book-club site - Mosley is a terrific crime novelist.
"Black Betty" is an Easy Rawlins story and Easy is about as tough, worldly and taciturn as any private detective by an active author. For those new to Mosley, Easy is African American, WWII vet, L.A. and this story takes place in the early 1960s. Other books are further back or further forward in time. I don't know the temporal sequence Mosley uses (if any).
Easy is hired, by a white man, to find Black
Sandy Bookwitch
Another wild ride with Easy Rawlins through booming 1961 LA, trying to find a missing woman. People keep dying along the way and Easy keeps getting, well, if not blamed at least suspected, of killing them. On the run from LAPD, a super-sadistic cop in Beverly Hills, and the rest of his suspect list, and at least a bit apprehensive that his very best friend, a stone-cold killer himself, may want him dead as well, Easy works to find out why this beautiful woman out of his past is the key to murder ...more
Dewayne Stark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gonzalo Corvera
Addictive. The social commentary is always fresh and genuine, not so profound as in the first books, maybe because one gets used to the style. The mysteries themselves are not so imaginative, but fast paced and entertaining. I like how the character evolves from one story to the next, along with changes in society and the cultural environment
This book was entertaining, however don't look for much depth in the Easy Rawlins novels. Mosley tend to talk too much about how hard it is to be a black man in 1950's LA but you never really feel the anguish. Easy's situations are too far fetched. It's simply not believable. These feeling may have come out because I've read a few too many Easy Rawlin's novels and frankly its hard to differentiate between them. Standard formula: woman in trouble in black part of town because she has messed aroun ...more
I read Black Betty, A Red Death, and White Butterfly one right after the other. I don't remember what order I read then in or the particular plot of any of them.

I do remember they were all plot driven rather than character driven. These books were all about action. The reader never learns very much about the pasts or even presents of any of the characters.

I was all set to enjoy Walter Mosley, but these mysteries were not nearly as interesting to me as the author's dystopic tales in Futureland.
Easy isn't having it so easy; his investments aren't covering his expenses. He needs a job and...lo and behold a detective offers him one trying to find someone he knew from his days in Texas. It turns out that she worked for many years for a very wealthy L.A. family and had disappeared just after the corrupt patriarch died under mysterious circumstances. And Mouse is getting out of a 5 years stint in jail and looking for revenge. Jesus and Feather are growing up, Mofass is getting outmaneuvered ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • When Death Comes Stealing (Tamara Hayle, #1)
  • Blanche Among the Talented Tenth (Blanche White #2)
  • The Zebra-Striped Hearse
  • The Real Cool Killers (Harlem Cycle, #2)
  • Ugly Ways
  • Singing in the Comeback Choir
  • Nightfall
  • Summer of the Big Bachi (Mas Arai, #1)
  • Casanegra (Tennyson Hardwick, #1)
  • Of Love and Dust
  • The Long Dream
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 13 books)
  • Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1)
  • A Red Death (Easy Rawlins #2)
  • White Butterfly (Easy Rawlins #3)
  • 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)
Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1) The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Little Scarlet (Easy Rawlins #9) Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned The Man in My Basement

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“I understood about fear. And I knew better than anyone in that room what Mouse was capable of. But still I had been raised in a place where to show your fear was worse than cowardice. It was suicide, a sin.” 4 likes
More quotes…