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Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  9,817 ratings  ·  512 reviews
In Los Angeles of the late 1940s, 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.
Paperback, 263 pages
Published September 17th 2002 by Washington Square Press (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
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
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Carol.
Apr 14, 2013 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars
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:
http://youtu.be/KVbr37_yPeY

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.
description
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
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Kemper
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
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Melki
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
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Becky
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
Tfitoby
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
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Cathy DuPont
Jun 29, 2013 Cathy DuPont rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Dfordoom
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
Michael
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
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Richard Vialet
This book is firmly on my list of favorite 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 white 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 crime 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 wonde
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Franky
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
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Cyndi
Fast, spare and gritty. So noir, you'll be searching for a flashlight. I see more of Mr. Rawlins in my reading future.
Harold
Enjoyable entertainment. Like watching a noir movie. Nothing deep or difficult-just a fun romp through mid 40s LA.
G.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David B
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
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Chuck
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
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Holger Haase
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
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Darren
I was back in Canada and could go on an actual paperback run. I cut through a few of these fairly fast. The Easy Rawlins books are shorter than I like, but well written. I can't help but think a counter series from the point of view of Mouse as he lives through the same eras would be goddamn riveting. Rawlins seems too removed, as a character, and a PI for too brief a time, in the series.
Megan Baxter
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
Kristel
The rare noir story that isn't all about nihilism, despite its dark edges. Mosley knows the parameters of a hardboiled mystery world so well that he is able to reframe it to accommodate a detective that is as much in peril in a white world as in the underworld. The language is also topnotch.
CasualDebris
For my full review, please visit Casual Debris.

3.5/5 or 7/10

Lauded for strong characterization and solid writing for a first novel, I have no observations to contradict the popular opinion the novel received on its initial release. What makes this quick read so intriguing is not the mystery plot, but our narrator Ezekial "Easy" Rawlins. His post-war instability, genuine smarts and his admission to mistakes in dealing with the investigation of the titular "devil," crystallize the narrative and tr
...more
J.D.
This was a re-read for me...first read it 20 or so years ago, and loved it. It still holds up beautifully.
Rob Kitchin
The Devil in the Blue Dress is a noir tale full of racial and sexual tensions set in the post-war Los Angeles. The strengths of the novel are the characterisation, contextualisation, and sense of place and time. Easy Rawlins is an interesting lead character: a man who wants to pull himself up into the middle class but finds himself scrabbling around in the underworld to keep that dream from slipping by; he’s familiar with death from his time fighting across Europe, but he has little appetite for ...more
Lori S.
Definitely in the same vein as Chandler and Hammett, Mosley's Easy Rawlins is a man who finds life anything but easy.

For the first time in his life, he has something that's truly his (a house) of which he rightly proud. Unfortunately, he just lost his job and has a mortgage payment due, he doesn't have much choice in jobs, so, when one practically falls in his lap, he takes it on. In the process of searching for one Daphne Monet, Easy finds himself coming up such characters as Dewitt Albright, a
...more
Nikki
I believe Walter Mosley got quite a bit of buzz when he first published Devil in a Blue Dress in 1990. I seem to recall that I began to read it at the time, but for some reason didn't get very far. Perhaps I just wasn't into noir fiction back then. A couple of years ago we listened to White Butterfly, another in the series, and enjoyed it very much. So when I saw this on Audible I couldn't resist giving it another try.

The narration, by Michael Boatman, adds immeasurably to my enjoyment. Boatman
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Dale
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ensiform
Easy Rawlins, an unemployed black war vet living in Los Angeles in 1948, is approached by a dangerous man and asked to find a beautiful white girl. He accepts the job reluctantly and starts asking around in seedy, dangerous bars as well as the corporate offices of white businessmen. Easy’s no detective or killer, and he’s soon tangled up in a very confusing series of plots and counterplots, as several of his friends and enemies are killed.

The mystery is a bit too convoluted for my tastes --- lot
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Lee
While the Easy Rawlins series could easily be dismissed as simple detective fiction it transcends, for me, such simple classification. Walter Mosley, in the spirit of Chester Himes shows the inequality that individuals face in America (and the world really) if they are seen as liminal. Easy Rawlins must rely on the relationships he has acquired as an African-American transplant from Texas to Los Angeles do his work. Relationships are often strained as a result and trouble arises not just from as ...more
Tara
I enjoyed this book well enough, though it's not really my style of book. I'm not a huge fan of the "hard nosed detective takes on the mean streets of the city" style of book, with a hero that's jumping into the sack with every woman he meets, when he's not running from crooks and killers, or from crooked cops that like to use their fists too much. It's all a little too male-fantasy for me.

But this was an easy read, well-paced, descriptive, with a pretty likeable hero and a cast of other interes
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L
Sep 26, 2014 L rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
Easy Rawlins' life-world-story sort of grabs you by the throat-heart and doesn't let go until he-it is good and ready to do so. Just fabulous. What a character! Such a rich atmosphere. And a great tale.
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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
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