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White Butterfly (Easy Rawlins #3)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  2,251 ratings  ·  93 reviews
The police don't show up on Easy Rawlins's doorstep until the third girl dies. It's Los Angeles, 1956, and it takes more than one murdered black girl before the cops get interested. Now they need Easy. As he says: "I was worth a precinct full of detectives when the cops needed the word in the ghetto." But Easy turns them down. He's married now, a father -- and his detectiv ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by Washington Square Press (first published 1992)
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Carol.
Apr 25, 2013 Carol. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans

My friends, this is why I review. Because some day, in a mere ten years, I'm going to innocently pick up this book and think, "hey, I should give this a try." About twenty pages in, I realized I had already read White Butterfly. I peeked at the resolution, and sure enough, I was right. Although, quite honestly, I'm glad of the chance to read it again, to linger on Mosley's language and characters. This was prickly period perfection.

White Butterfly is set in a middle chapter in Easy's life; his l
...more
rachel
As with Black Betty, Walter Mosley is superb at writing dialogue, character, and hard-luck situations.

His straightforward, unsentimental style is a great fit for his frequent commentary on race relations in Los Angeles (or America as a whole) in the 1950s. In my experience, white people who think that black people should "speak 'proper' English" or, living in poverty, should "just pull themselves up by their bootstraps" tend to shut down when the person telling them why this is ignorant shows a
...more
Tfitoby
Welcome to the third Easy Rawlins novel, in which you will find the racial comments and comparisons coming even further to the foreground and Easy Rawlins finds new and interesting ways to mess up his happy existence. Ahhh noir, thoroughly depressing yet incredibly enjoyable to read.

Easy Rawlins really is a bastard at least half of the time but Mosley manages to create not an anti-hero but a real man with major faults yet prone to major kindness and trying to do the right thing for/by other peop
...more
Babydoll
Author Walter Mosley proves successful at displaying his literary talents in the mystery, White Butterfly. Readers are transfixed into the bustling life of Ezekial “Easy” Rawlins as he forges a quest for a serial killer, in this exhilarating third installment into the Easy Rawlins mystery series. What he experiences will be unforeseen and come at a high cost.

The year is 1956 and Easy is settled peacefully at home in Los Angeles with his family, when he is unexpectedly visited and appealed by the
...more
Amber
A compelling read - Easy Rawlins is a flawed man who nevertheless strives to do the right thing. But "right" is a mutable concept. It doesn't help that the LAPD begrudgingly enlist his assistance when they have a case they can't crack. I could read Mosley's conflicted love letter to L.A. and Rawlins' insights about how we treat each other, along racialized and gendered lines, all day.
Bobby Underwood
Though Devil in a Blue Dress and A Red Death are great reads which stand apart from other books in the genre, White Butterfly might be the finest of the Easy Rawlins' stories for my money. Like Ross Macdonald, Walter Mosley weaves a tapestry of pain and heartache and human frailty into White Butterfly. Along the way we get to revisit the friendship of Mouse and Easy and again we learn that there are degrees of right and wrong.

Black girls are getting murdered at an alarming rate in 1956 Los Angel
...more
Chris
A taut noir with an evocative setting and provocative characters, it's the dialogue--somehow sharp and languorous all at once--that really stands out in White Butterfly. I loved the film Devil in a Blue Dress so much that I wanted to read more of Walter Mosley's series of novels centering on his Easy Rawlins character. This novel--the third in the series--was as good a place to start as any. Mosley's unsentimental style is reminiscent of some of the "greats" of detective fiction--Dashiell Hammet ...more
Jason Williams
Sucked. Descriptions of L.A. and crime noir language was good, but the story was chock full of stupid cliches that took away as much as the story itself put in.
Sandy Bookwitch
I've really come to love the Easy Rawlins books. Mosley's writing feels, despite the vernacular of the culture in which they are set, very similar to Raymond Chandler to me. White Butterfly was no exception. Easy has more depth than Marlowe, more vulnerability or at least the reader gets to see more of those things. Easy wants to have a wife and kids and a home. He putters in his yard, growing vegetables and flowers. He's far a more domestic and kind of regular guy than Marlowe. But he has the s ...more
Cam
I think these mysteries are so much more than I was thinking they'd be that I have to wonder how I missed them as they were being written. Private eye stories aren't my favorite genre, but if there's ever a case for getting rid of genres, these are building a case for taking off the blinkers and reading them as just plain fiction or literature if you prefer. This takes place in the mid-1950's when a white (butterfly!) club dancer is killed in a way that links her to a serial killer who had alrea ...more
Edmole
A hard boiled mystery set in 50s Watts, LA. Easy Rawlins is a hard man whose hard luck seems to have come to an end, living with a scratch family and letting the past settle, before a series of killings of girls bring him back into a world he can't seem to get away from. Easy is strong-armed into being a go-between by the Police, who can't get anywhere talking to the black residents of Watts. They need him because the fourth girl killed is white, and suddenly catching the killer is a priority.

I
...more
Guy
Deel drie uit de Easy Rawlins-reeks biedt vooral meer van hetzelfde (maar hey, simpele spaghetti neem ik ook elke dag met kinderlijk enthousiasme in ontvangst). Intussen ben ik als lezer helemaal vertrouwd met Rawlins, die ondanks z’n vele gebreken een geloofwaardige, empathie oproepende protagonist/klootzak blijft. Met White Butterfly (1992) maakt Mosley opnieuw een sprong in die tijd (drie jaar) en een en ander is intussen veranderd: Rawlins is nl. een family man geworden met een vrouw en twee ...more
Brandon Mueller
Wow,I am utterly amazed once again by Walter Mosley's unbelievable ability to make great mystery books! This novel is the third book in Walter Mosley's captivating "Easy Rawlins Mystery" series, and like the previous novels in the series, this book is truly captivating and a joy to read. I honestly had a hard time putting the book down as Rawlins is back to his old ways of excitingly finding the criminal and doing almost anything and using everyone to get the job done. There are many twists in t ...more
kate
If you're sick of mass-market fiction's obsession with formulaic mysteries that have little to no thematic resonance -- you know, the ones certain authors seem to churn out with factory regularity and, let's be honest, don't even write -- then Mosley's the guy to rebuild your faith in the genre. Easy Rawlins isn't your cliché, rough-around-the-edges but good-hearted P.I. - or, he is all those things, but in much more morally complex ways, and we as readers have to appropriately contend with them ...more
Lisabet Sarai
I seem to be reading Mosley in reverse chronological order. The first of his books that I read (spurred by the controversy it generated) was KILLING JOHNNY FRY, an over-the-top meditation on the transforming influence of sex. Then I read BLUE LIGHT, an earlier sci fi novel which I found intelligent and thought provoking. Now WHITE BUTTERFLY, only his third novel, in the Easy Rawlins noir series that I believe made Mosley's name as an author.

WHITE BUTTERFLY is double noir. You've got the typical
...more
Alayne
I liked the murder mystery of this book better than A Red Death. Unfortunately, reading this as series, there is too much repetition within the book, as though the author forget that we had already heard 50 pages prior where he met Mouse, or the details about the house he currently lives in. There were enough twists to keep me interested, and it's an easy book to read.
Martin
I'm not great at following mysteries, but I love to hear Easy's internal monologue about the city, his associates, the librarian he debates with, and his feelings about his wife Regina. For me the mystery is secondary, as I just love hanging out with this guy. However, this is a good mystery as well.
HeavyReader
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. They all came from a huge pile of books I got from a FreeCycle score in Phoenix. I had read Mosley's Futureland several years before and had been wanting to read more by him, so I was excited when these books fell into my lap.

I do remember they were all of these three books plot driven rather than character driven. These books were all
...more
David Guy
Again, I read Mosley for his portrayal of African American life, and this book tamed down the wild plots that had bothered me in the past. I love Mosley's honesty; he writes about things that other writers don't mention. I'm going to continue with this series, at least one more book.
Leslie
This book was really interesting to me for a lot of reasons. I haven't read much (any?) popular fiction by African American authors. I gravitate to the written word, and so largely oral cultures are not ones to which I have as much exposure. This is a very articulate African American man giving vent to some of his racial resentment through a character who had fought in WWII at the Battle of the Bulge, but then come back to lead a life on the edge of violence in L.A. His musings on the confinemen ...more
Mary
This was one of the first Walter Mosley books I read maybe 7 years ago so it was a second reading for me. Now being an Eazy Rollins fan, I found the story a sad part of his life as he struggled to hold on to his wife and daughter and hadn't yet figured out that he needed to be someone else to do that.

Walter Mosley is such a gifted author, it's worth reading every single one of his books you can lay your hands on. He only put out occasional books (not one every 6-12 months like some) but when he
...more
Dan
another effective easy rawlins mystery. mosley shows the usual strengths - great, natural dialogue, believable atmosphere, resonant socio-political subtexts. this time easy is after a serial killer, but the case isn't really the focus of the book until the last 100 pages or so. instead, white butterfly examines some troubling issues about his marriage and new-found role as a father. i got the sense that mosley was more interested in writing a character study than a whodunit this time around; unf ...more
Peter
I've been enjoying the Easy Rawlins series, of which this book is the third, on audio. These books are noir thrillers, with the requisite violence and greed and messed-up relationships. At the same time, they are an empathetic portrait of African-Americans living in Los Angeles in the mid-20th century. White Butterfly may be my favorite of those I've listened to so far, partly just because I've gotten to know the recurring characters better as I go along. Michael Boatman does a great job of narr ...more
Ann M
3.5 stars. The book is set in the fifties, and the racist elements are pretty stark, but Mosley writes well and doesn't let the background overshadow the story. It's a story of a serial killer and the desperation attracted to these things. If anything, it shows how prejudice of all kinds poisons people even against their own families. I liked the portrayal of the relationship between Easy and his wife.

My edition didn't have the story, "Lavender." I did read Lavender in Best American Mystery Stor
...more
Natasha Mairs
This is easily my favorite book. Love the man character Easy Rawlins. great storyline, nice twist and a great unexpected ending
Cora Pettie-collins
An American friend of mine introduced me to the Easy Rawlings series and I've enjoyed them all.
Bruce
Don't get me wrong, I liked it well enough, it's just that it veered all over the place and it seemed as if the mystery itself was a side story. That said, I really like the characters. I considered it better than average.
Kayla Sweet
I'm left wondering if the author doesn't understand women's orgasms, or if he was just trying to impart that the protagonist doesn't. Either way, a very entertaining read!
Gina
This one's interesting because he's being asked by a black cop who hates Easy for help. And also the drawing out of cops interested in serial killer of 3/4 black women now that a white woman has been killed (of course, the question becomes is it the same killer?)

Also critical because it has the "origin" story of his being married with a new baby and how he loses his wife to a friend....Dupree... and loses he only birth child. This plays a part in all the other novels as he builds a found family.
...more
Allison
This is the first of the Easy Rawlins books I have read. I am a fan of Walter Mosley and the detective genre, so this seemed like a natural choice for me. The characters are often missing something to complete them and cement them in the story. Since I am a few books into the series, I am curious, is this because I did not start with the first book? I did not find it detrimental to the plot though. Per usual, Mosley writes finely and smoothly with a rhythm that allows him to switch cleanly from ...more
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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 13 books)
  • Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1)
  • A Red Death (Easy Rawlins #2)
  • 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)
Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1) The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Black Betty (Easy Rawlins #4) Little Scarlet (Easy Rawlins #9) Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned

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