Episode 40: Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

“The year is 1948, the town is Los Angeles.

Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran, has just been fired from his job at a defense factory plant. Drinking in his friend’s bar, he’s wondering how he’ll manage to make ends meet, when a white man in a linen suit approaches him and offers him good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Money, a missing blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

Easy has no idea that by taking this job, his life is about to change forever.

“More than simply a detective novel…[Mosley is] a talented author with something vital to say about the distance between the black and white worlds, and with a dramatic way to say it” (The New York Times).”

Summary from Simon and Schuster

It’s been a while, but the Spoilers are back — this time taking on the dangerous, seedy underworld of 1940s Los Angeles in Walter Mosley’s classic novel about the factory worker turned private detective, Easy Rawlins.  Not surprisingly, the conversation quickly turns to the racial and gender politics of the book. It’s a spicy discussion that ends with an inevitable extended comparison of the book to Barbara Neely’s Blanche on the Lam, a contest no novel can ever win because Blanche is just the GOAT. Still, we had fun with Devil in a Blue Dress, and anyone who loves mystery and detective novels should love this episode. Check it out.

Mentioned in the Show

  •  Pauline Hopkins, Hagar’s Daughter
  • David Simon, The Corner (Todd said this was based on a Walter Mosley novel, which it isn’t. He was probably thinking of Always Outnumbered, an 1998 HBO movie based on the novel Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned)
  • Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White
  • Frederick, Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Barbara Neely, Blanche on the Lam

Wha the spoilers are up to!

What We Are Watching, Reading, Listening To:

  • Crystal – The Good Fight
  • Todd – Dahmer (not recommended)
  • Anita – The Book of Kane and Margaret by Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi; Derry Girls

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