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Devil in a Blue Dress

(Easy Rawlins #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  20,162 ratings  ·  1,486 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. ...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published September 17th 2002 by Washington Square Press (first published 1990)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  20,162 ratings  ·  1,486 reviews

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Brown Girl Reading
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Easy Rawlins and detective novels
This was a great start for me. I can't wait to get to the second Easy Rawlins. The best thing about this novel was the ambiance and the character of Easy Rawlins. So well done! I want to watch the movie to compare. I recommend Devil in the Blue Dress to anybody looking for a detective novel with a little something else. This detective novel takes place in 1940s California with all the fear a black man living in that time period might have to go through. Having lost his mortgage, Rawlins accepts ...more
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of detective noir
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 su
Dan Schwent
Jan 31, 2014 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
Joe Valdez
My case study of 20th century detective fiction continues with Devil in a Blue Dress, the debut of Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins, World War II veteran and homeowner in South Central Los Angeles who often gets more trouble than he bargained for taking jobs to help bad people recover coveted items. Walter Mosley has published sixteen Easy Rawlins mysteries to date and in some ways, L.A. no longer seems like the pressure cooker it was when this novel arrived in 1990. In other ways, the city remains the sa ...more
Bobby Underwood
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Devil in a Blue Dress introduced Walter Mosley's hero, Ezekiel (Easy) Rawlins to the reading public. A fast-flowing narrative with a story somewhat complex in a bare-bones kind of way, Mosley takes us into Raymond Chandler country - Los Angeles after the war. But this is a slightly different perspective because Easy happens to be a black man. He becomes a private-eye of sorts in order to locate a blonde French girl named Daphne Monet for a white man he doesn't quite trust. Daphne has a penchant ...more
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
Jul 02, 2008 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
4.5 stars
This is the first book in the Easy Rawlins series. I had to get it on interlibrary loan. I have been reading rave reviews of Mosley's Easy Rawlins series for years. This one won the Shamus award for best first PI novel. Easy is a black war veteran in 1948 Los Angeles. He just lost his job and he needs money to pay his next mortgage payment. Then a job offer comes his way. He is offered $100 to find a white woman who likes to frequent black bars and listen to jazz. Dewitt Albright explai
Bonnie Shores
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a proud and unapologetic black man in 1940s Los Angeles. He has just been laid off from his factory job because he let his independence show too openly toward his white supervisor. While hanging out at a local bar, a menacing, heavy-set white man dressed all in white approaches him with a "job". Because the bartender vouches for him, Easy takes the job. After all, he has a mortgage to pay. What is this job? Find some 22-year-old blond knockout, Daphne Monet, who frequen ...more
Having read Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep earlier this year, it’s easy to make the comparison to this novel, Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley. After all, they’re both hard-boiled crime novels, both set in Los Angeles in the 1st half of the 20th century, and both debut their famous private-eye protagonists, Philip Marlowe and Easy Rawlins, who would appear in multiple novels, and even on the big screen. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Easy Rawlins pwas an African-Amer
Monica **can't read fast enough**
First let me say that I don’t know why it took me so long to start this series. I always knew that I would enjoy them once I got started. However, I admit that I was just a tiny bit nervous starting this one because I attempted to read Killing Johnny Fry early in 2017 and it was no bueno! I DNF'd that sucker and never looked back! It was Mosley's take on an erotic story and let me tell ya, it wasn't my cup of tea in any way shape or form. Just no. Nuh uh. Naw, y'all!

Devil in a Blued Dress on th
Megan Baxter
Jul 06, 2012 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
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Backlist A Thon: Book with Blue on the cover

I absolutely loved this book!

Devil In A Blue Dress is a noir classic.

A man down on his luck.

A beautiful & mysterious woman.



And Los Angeles in the 1940's.

Devil In A Blue Dress has everything you could ever want in a noir. This book is so atmospheric. I could so vividly picture every frame of this story. Walter Mosley is a true wordsmith. Devil in a Blue Dress is suspenseful, dramatic and compulsively readable.

I loved it!

A must
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Mosley's latest standalone that won the top Edgar and went back to his debut Devil in a Blue Dress. Such levels of consistency almost thirty years apart is seldom seen, if the rest of his output is of a similar quality I am in for some great reading. This has to be amongst the most assured crime fiction debuts, no one who has written hard boiled, gritty noirs was this polished with their first book. Mosley already seems comfortable and confident with his narrative voice.

Easy Rawlins is a
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast-paced noir novel that takes place in L.A. in 1984. It had a twisty plot that kept my guessing till the end. It revolves around Easy Rawling, An African-American WWII veteran who has recently lost his job and is desperate to pay the mortgage or he'll lose his house (his sense of pride). So, when He's approached by a white man named DeWitt Albright who offer him a job with a quick cash, he eagerly accepts.
Albright want him to find a white young woman called Daphne Monet, who likes to hang
Andrew Smith
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir-hardboiled
Ezekiel Rawlins is a black WWII veteran living in Los Angeles in the late 1940’s. Known as Easy by everyone, he’s just lost his job – courtesy of a racist boss – and is looking for a way of covering the mortgage payments on his small house. So when a slippery fellow called Albright offers him $100 to locate a woman called Daphne Monet Rawlins finds himself in the rather reluctant role of a PI.

In this short but busy noir tale we’re then treated to a tour of seedy nightclubs, bars and barber shops
Sep 27, 2013 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
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bingers of Luke Cage on Netflix
Shelves: 2016, noir
"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
Ahhhh hmmmm well.
I read this book, insofar that the pages were turned but if I am honest nothing was really being absorbed. This was the reading equivalent of elevator music while my mind was busy solving the riddles of Blood Meridian .
I must apologise to Walter Mosley because this book didn't get a fair shake of the dice really.

It is also true I might not be the most appreciative reader of hardboiled LA noir. The convoluted plots make my eyes glaze over and all the bad men begin to blur. I do
It's 1948, the war's been over for a few years, and ex-GI Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins has a house in Watts that he's very proud of, but he's just been fired from his job at the Champion Aircraft plant for not being willing to kiss his boss's butt the way he thinks a black man should, and the mortgage payments are going to be a problem. So it makes sense for him to take the job his bartender friend Joppy lines up for him, tracking down a beautiful white woman who likes to hang out at black jazz clubs ...more
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
Cheryl James
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been wanting to read this series for quite some time. I love the characters and their dialect. I am sure this is exactly how crime and criminals were protrayed back in the day. Even though things went bad in the end I love how the men spoke and hung out with each other. Money, women and power made them do crazy things. I look foward to reading the next 13 books!!
B. P. Rinehart
Good Rockin’ Tonight by Wyonnie Harris

"'That's just like you, Easy. You learn stuff and you be thinkin' like white men be thinkin'. You be thikin' that what's right fo' them is right fo' you. (view spoiler) And a nigger ain't never gonna be happy 'less he accept what he is.'"

To start things off, it is amazing that it took so long for a character like Easy Rawlins to come a
Sep 28, 2013 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
The writing of Walter Mosley harkens back to masters like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and James Cain. The best of noir.

This book was Mosley's introduction of his character, Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins. We meet Easy in 1948, three years after the end of World War II. He is a black man who had been raised in Houston and he had joined the army to fight Nazis during the war. He spent much of it sitting behind a typewriter, but when he had the chance, he volunteered to go with Gen. George Patton's
Connie G
Ezekeil "Easy" Rawlins is an African American worker at an aircraft plant who has just been fired. He needs to pay the mortgage so he takes a job as a private investigator for a smooth white guy. He wants to locate femme fatale Daphne Monet who is fond of Easy's favorite jazz club. Easy has no idea that this job will pull him into Los Angeles' underworld, and eventually into a new career.

In addition to being an exciting mystery with snappy dialogue, the book also shows the state of race relation
Anthony Vacca
Jun 02, 2016 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
Nov 12, 2011 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
Carla Remy
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I appreciated that the main character is not (in this first book of the series, anyway) a detective. I love the suspense of mysteries, but I prefer stories about regular people, not professionals (there are exceptions to this). This was very good.
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, noir, erotic, racism
I have no excuse for taking so long to read Walter Mosley. If you have even a passing interest in mystery novels someone at some point in your life has told you to read him. Possibly one of the most prolific writers (of quality) out there he "writes everyday" and sometimes produces two novels a year and he's dabbled in everything from play writing to science fiction to erotica. But he's perhaps best known for the "Easy Rawlins" mysteries the first of which is the very beautiful, haunting Devil i ...more
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Oregon Public Lib...: Devil in a Blue Dress [February 2021] 1 2 Feb 02, 2021 04:23PM  
UPEP Reading Group : Week 6: Detective Fiction 1 3 Apr 05, 2019 09:21AM  
Has anyone read this author? 5 35 Oct 29, 2018 08:57AM  
Classic Trash: Devil ina Blue Dress: Finished (spoilers) 4 19 Jul 15, 2018 05:30PM  
Classic Trash: Devil in a Blue Dress: In Progress (No Spoilers) 6 12 Jul 11, 2018 06:27AM  
Raymond Chandler, Hammett and Mosley 2 21 May 27, 2015 04:36PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley 1 18 Jan 25, 2015 04:39PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Easy Rawlins (1 - 10 of 15 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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