The fourth Easy Rawlins novel, Black Betty, takes place in 1961, with Easy attempting to balance his parental obligations and his work life. Responsible for both his adopted children, Feather and Jesus, Easy, now forty-one, rises to the challenge of single parenthood. Because of his involvement with and dedication to his children, Easy is more cautious about the risks he takes. Nevertheless, as always he finds himself in trouble with the justice system as he tries to unravel yet another mystery of violence, greed, and betrayal. His willingness to become involved is due in part to his financial circumstances. While he has enjoyed prosperity in the past, Easy, now living in a rented house, is almost bankrupt. This changed financial outlook piques the reader’s attention, the result of which is a renewed interest in the possibilities for this seasoned protagonist. In Black Betty Mosley reveals his development as a writer in that the work is paced with greater regularity and the issues addressed are presented with narrative subtlety and complexity.
Saul Lynx, a white detective who has been hired by the Cains, a wealthy white family from Beverly Hills, wants Easy to find their maid, Elizabeth (Black Betty) Eady. Lynx has learned that Easy once knew Betty years ago