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Black Betty

(Easy Rawlins #4)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  4,217 ratings  ·  184 reviews
1961: For most black Americans, these were times of hope. For former P.I. Easy Rawlins, Los Angeles's mean streets were never meaner...or more deadly. Ordinarily, Easy would have thrown the two bills in the sleazy shamus' face -- the white man who wanted him to find the notorious Black Betty, an ebony siren whose talent for all things rich and male took her from Houston's ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Washington Square Press (first published June 1st 1994)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,217 ratings  ·  184 reviews

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Monica **can't read fast enough**
I just love this series! Mosley's writing is about a smooth and captivating as they come. Easy is such a complex character, yet Mosley makes him feel relatable and realistic. Easy's strengths and flaws make him the kind of character that you want to see come out alright in the end despite the odds against him finding real happiness and peace. I'm about to dive into A Little Yellow Dog next!

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Brown Girl Reading
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of Easy Rawlins lovers, crime/detective novels, Walter Mosely
Still loving this series although there were only a few interesting twists to the story. I can't wait to continue on with Book #5 which is called A Little Yellow Dog.
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 ...more
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a reread for me( the first time I read this was in the early 2000's) and I loved it even more this time around. I had forgotten all the juice that was taken place in this book. all the scandal and hurt. And then there's Easy, getting himself into trouble trying to help people. This time looking for a love (more like school boy crush) that has gone missing and her employer is looking for her and will stop at nothing, and I mean just that, to find her again. This one was probably the ...more
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've read and enjoyed books about tough guys whom no one gets the best of but I've never read one like this. Easy Rawlins is a black PI who, while doing his job of finding a missing person, has to deal with the hostility of racism. In this book, a white PI hires him to go places where he'll fit in and the other wouldn't. He's looking for Betty, a missing black woman who was working for a rich white family and whom he remembers from his youth. She was older and stunning and unforgettable. The way ...more
Alvin Horn
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2019-read
This is my first Easy Rollins mystery. I've seen these books around forever, and wanted a taste. This was a great way to be introduced to the series.

A few incidences of violence. Made me a little uncomfortable, but then, I am very sensitive to that.

I liked the story, and the dramatization. I may try another.
May 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
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 ...more
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mosley is just one of the best writers that I have been privileged to read. His turn of phrase and description are just wonderful In this one he has such a wonderful way of describing an unopened bottle of Seagrams which includes how wonderful it is yet how horrific.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I love the Easy Rawlins series. What struck me about this one was Mosley's prose. I'm not sure if Mosley just stepped it up a notch with his fourth installment, or whether it was the format that caused me to notice. I read this one on my Kindle, which allowed me to linger over the well-crafted paragraphs, whereas I listened to the audio version of the first three books (audio has no mercy - it just keeps going). About halfway through I started to highlight some of my favorites. Here's one of the ...more
Rae Lewis-Thornton
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
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 ...more
Cheryl James
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Another great Easy Rawlins story. I love this series. The characters are amazing and the story flows throughout each chapter. On to book 5.
Erin L
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, pi
This series just gets better - a darker, gritty PI type novel that gives the reader realistic characters with little left to lose.
Brandon Mueller
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
R.K. Byers
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
probably the best book in the Rawlings series.
Ray Campbell
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
So if you need help with detective work in 1950s or 60s LA, you need Easy Rawlins. Easy's reputation for being able to find, research and help folks in the African-American community is legendary. He earns his living as a landlord and has the time to ask around, for the right price. This is the 4th book in the series. Easy's character and family are well established as are his close relationships. Black Betty is a beautiful young woman from Easy's past in Houston. She is now a grown woman with ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first book by Walter Mosley I've read, didn't realize it was Book #4, now I have to go back and read the rest! The story takes place in Los Angeles in 1961, Easy Rawlins is approached by a white man who is looking for Black Betty. Easy knew her when is was a child in Houston and was quite "taken" by the woman. It turns out "Black Betty has been working for a rich family named Cain and when old man Cain "died" she disappear.

This is just one of the story lines his good friend "Mouse"
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Easy is hired to find a missing woman, Elizabeth Eady aka Black Betty and once again we're taken on the hunt along with Easy. Thus far, this is my favorite novel in the Easy Rawlings series. I was pretty sure I figured out the who and the why...NOPE! I like non-predictable reads and this book just had a different feel for me than the other Easy Rawlins stories....and that last paragraph had me shaking my head and nodding at the same time.
John Bunyan
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my favorite Easy Rawlins story so far.
Bill Donhiser
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A good detective thriller, enjoyed the plot, the language was a little more than necessary.
Allan MacDonell
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
White, black, green, we all bleed red is the theory. Still, for all that, the preponderance of blood splashed about the pages of Walter Mosleys Black Betty has spilled from fatal wounds inflicted upon black people. Mosleys trouble-magnet narrator Easy Rawlins is wry, sentimental, a gentleman of the O.G. (older gallant) tradition, a bit of a brute when blunt force or an urgent kiss is called for, with a short-fused hair-trigger for the white mans dipshitery. Nothing in Black Betty turns out well ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
While not the strongest selection from the Eazy series, it's always good spending an afternoon with a Walter Mosley book!
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story is clear and understandable until near the end when the pace increases and the plot begins twisting. The major plot splinters into many, near the end, and keeping up with all the names and roles gets too hard. Mosley writes a deeply characterized novel that includes many fascinating views of the world that I'd never seen. Plenty of action and psychology hold the story together. Just be careful of that last turn.
Mar 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, own, black-lit
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
Carl Alves
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Set in 1961 in Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins, a former private investigator who specializes in finding people that need to be found in the black community, is hired on to find an old acquaintance of his, Black Betty. Easy isnt the only one who is looking for her. Betty was working as a house keeper for a wealthy family, whose patriarch was murderedthe same man who has fathered her children. As Easy is investigating, Bettys family members start dying as he unveils a conspiracy involving the police.

Jo Ann Fishburn
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 ...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 ...more

Other books in the series

Easy Rawlins (1 - 10 of 14 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'
  • 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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