Devil in a Blue Dress

A review of “Devil in a Blue Dress,” by Walter Mosley.

This poem examines the book “Devil in a Blue Dress,” by Walter Mosley which is classed as a Black crime novel and is the first in an entire series of books about its protagonist, Easy Rawlins, a detective facing racism in his work and in local politics in 1940s LA. It examines the characters and the plot twists and turns with things the reader does not expect. It shows how Mosley has a talent for writing compelling descriptions of his people and their surroundings and how he brings Southern California in the 1940s vividly to life, from the fruit groves to the sunshine, to the prejudices and the bleak racial relations that marked the country before the Civil Rights movement.
“California may have been a “heaven” but the southern Negro still faced persecution there, and that is part of the “bottom” they face every day. Easy faces it too as he tries to solve the mystery of Daphne Monet’s disappearance. The California of these Negroes is Watts, the ghetto where Blacks were confined in the 40s and even today. They struggled for their existence, and Easy moves among them, sometimes streetwise and alternately erudite, it depends on where he is, and what he is doing.”