Devil in a Blue Dress
Devil in a Blue Dress introduces Mosley’s protagonist detective Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins. This first novel establishes how Easy stumbles upon his job as an investigator and lays the foundation for his continued development in subsequent novels as a lay detective and as a man. What distinguishes Mosley’s work is the running commentary Easy makes on various social issues, past and present. The crime dilemma is linked specifically to African American struggle and endurance. In addition, Mosley addresses issues such as class, race mixing, and political corruption, among others. This novel also introduces some characters who will reappear in Mosley’s later works in varying degrees of importance. In this way, Mosley creates a veritable universe wherein these characters enter and exit as need be as they challenge and assist Easy in his journey toward self-awareness and contentment.
As the novel begins, a recently fired Easy Rawlins is having a drink at the bar owned by acquaintance Joppy Shag. Soon entering the bar is DeWitt Albright, a well-dressed white man whose presence in the rundown establishment is odd because of both his dress and his race. After Joppy makes introductions, DeWitt offers Easy a job doing some investi-