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Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,043 Ratings  ·  674 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

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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
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
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
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
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
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
Apr 26, 2008 Dfordoom rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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
James Barker
Apr 27, 2016 James Barker rated it liked it
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
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
Jennifer D
Mar 01, 2016 Jennifer D rated it liked it
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
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.
Dec 26, 2013 Harold rated it really liked it
Enjoyable entertainment. Like watching a noir movie. Nothing deep or difficult-just a fun romp through mid 40s LA.
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.
David B
Jan 06, 2014 David B rated it really liked it
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
Mar 28, 2009 Chuck rated it really liked it
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
Holger Haase
Oct 06, 2013 Holger Haase rated it really liked it
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
Aug 12, 2014 Darren rated it really liked it
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.
Robert McCready
Apr 09, 2016 Robert McCready rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me feel manly. In fact, I even did some pull-ups after I quit reading for the day. The way Mosley writes reminds me of Ernest Hemingway: crisp, clean, strong words and sentences. The protagonist reminds me a little of Kinsey Millhone in the Grafton novels. He's an amateur sleuth who professionalizes by the end of the novel. What elevates this novel from genre to something a little more literary is the way it deals with race relations. To me, some of the language seems similar to l ...more
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
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
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016: Read the first book in a series by a person of color

A good, noir-ish mystery set in post-WWII California which, sadly, deals with race-related issues we're still grappling with today. The audiobook is expertly read by actor Michael Boatman.

PS--The movie version, starring Denzel Washington, is just so-so.
The Devil in a Blue Dress was different to most Hard-Boiled novels I’ve read. For the most obvious reason, it was based around the African American community, which gave the story a fresh and interesting take on the genre. I remember seeing the movie and didn’t think much of it, but the novel was really enjoyable and well worth reading for all Hard-Boiled fans.
Cecilia Boyers
Feb 03, 2016 Cecilia Boyers rated it did not like it
I did not like this it was super boring and cheesy
Apr 07, 2016 Betsy rated it liked it
I was late to the Easy Rawlins books and to Walter Mosley. I read one or two of the more recent ones, and decided I'd go back to the beginning. That's what this book is - the first of the Easy Rawlins series. It was fun to see how it all started. I hope as I move forward, that I'll learn things about the character that have been carried into the later books. It's clear from my reading path that Mosley has grown as a writer and that Rawlins has become more layered as a character. Even so, I enjoy ...more
Aug 09, 2015 Hapzydeco rated it really liked it
Using Los Angeles in the 1940s as his setting, Walter Mosely captures a people and its culture. Easy Rawlins is not the typical private detective. The Rawlins-Mouse connection reminds me of Spenser and Hawk.
Feb 13, 2014 CasualDebris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
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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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