• Devil in a Blue Dress

  • An Easy Rawlins Mystery
  • By: Walter Mosley
  • Narrated by: Michael Boatman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (3,166 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Los Angeles, 1948: Easy Rawlins is a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend's bar, wondering how he'll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Money, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.
Hear more of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins mysteries.
©2002 Walter Mosley (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Mystery and Suspense, 2010
  • Top 100 Mysteries of All Time (Mystery Writers of America)
  • 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century (Independent Mystery Booksellers Assn.)

"Richly atmospheric....Devil in a Blue Dress honors the hard-boiled tradition of Hammett/Chandler/Cain in its story line and attitude, but Mosley takes us down some mean streets that his spiritual predecessors never could have.... A fast-moving, entertaining story written with impressive style." ( Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"Ezekiel 'Easy' Rawlins, a young, tough black veteran living in 1948 Los Angeles, only wants respect and enough money to pay his mortgage. When fired from his factory job, however, he undertakes some paid errands for a shady white mobster who wishes to locate a light-haired, blue-eyed beauty. As Easy plumbs his usual hangouts for clues, he relays information to the mobster, runs afoul of the police, meets the mysterious woman, discovers a murder, then investigates in self-defense. An unusually refreshing protagonist...talented prose, and evocative, realistic descriptions of speech, manners, and social life make this an exceptional and welcome addition." ( Library Journal)

Featured Article: These Noir Listens Will Take You to the Dark Side of Fiction


What do you love most in your mystery listens? Is it dark, moody settings and gritty storylines? Is it morally ambiguous main characters with complex inner lives? If so, noir is your kind of fiction. As a literary genre, noir can be difficult to nail down because so much of it is based on a general feeling of darkness and danger. Noir fiction was inspired by film noir, and film noir traces its roots to hard-boiled detective novels. Check out the world of noir fiction audiobooks.

What listeners say about Devil in a Blue Dress

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Beware of Mysterious Sexy Women with Big Suitcases

This is a solid, concise, well-written and well-read noir detective story set in Los Angeles shortly after World War II. The recently fired Easy Rawlins, in need of money to pay the mortgage on his modest Watts house with its avocado and fruit trees, accepts a seemingly innocuous job to look for a beautiful white woman and then becomes caught up in a tangled web of desire, greed, racism, and violence. In addition to the historical Southern Californian setting, the most interesting part of the novel involves race, most noir detective stories involving white detective heroes, but this one featuring an African American war veteran, a strong and brave and dignified man who has killed white men (German soldiers) in combat, but who nonetheless finds himself tongue-tied when questioned by haughty white American men. He has been living under the radar in a very racist society and now must find a way to deal with the ugly and violent and petty machinations of powerful white people in order to save his house and his life. Easy's voice, both in Walter Mosley's spicy and authentic first-person narration and in Michael Boating's excellent reading of it, is appealing and humane. Boating effectively brings to life the different characters, from the formidable loose canon Mouse to the damaged and damaging Daphne Monet. The novel has plenty of violence and sex, but these are mostly in the service of story and character rather than being gratuitous.

59 people found this helpful

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  • 04-09-14

I had to at least sample this author

Sometimes I'll choose a book just because I think that I should at least read something by a particular author--expand my horizons a bit, as it were. Walter Mosley is one of those authors on my list and so when Devil in a Blue Dress appeared in the sale pile, I took the chance. Glad I did. Mosley's reputation is well deserved. While I am not hooked on Easy Rawlins and racing out to gather up as many in the series as I can, I'm sure that more may make it into my library in the future.

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A little violent for my taste

Although I am a real mystery fan, I found this book to be a little to graphic for my taste. The story was a good story, I have seen this made into a movie so was already familiar with the story. I don't regret listening to this, but won't likely purchase another book by this author,

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice history lesson

This was an interesting listen with many twists. But I found the setting - post-WWII California - even more entertaining.

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not bad, not great.

This story is pretty convoluted. There are a lot of twists and turns in the story line which made it a little hard to follow and even harder to believe. I found it a little violent for my taste. There seemed to be a lot of killing that didn't make much sense.

16 people found this helpful

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Humdrum

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would be hard pressed to recommend this book to anyone, especially a friend. While the story line holds promise in the beginning, it quickly loses it's pazazz.

Would you be willing to try another book from Walter Mosley? Why or why not?

Probably not. With a little bit of tweeking, this book would have been interesting. It just doesn't make the cut in its published form. Close but no cigar.

What aspect of Michael Boatman’s performance would you have changed?

Boatman performed fine. So, I don't have any suggestion for improvement.

Do you think Devil in a Blue Dress needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I'm not a lazy reader so this book held minimal value for me. By that I mean, there is no challenge to the story. It's supposed to be a mystery and it starts off well, then the writer wanders off course and never recaptures the reader. So, I couldn't stand to sit through anymore gibberish in a follow-up book.

Any additional comments?

Nope.

15 people found this helpful

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Rough, Raw, and Gritty

This is a good noir mystery with an excellent sense of character and place. It's also a raw expose of California in 1948's seedy underbelly, with graphic descriptions of violence, slightly less graphic descriptions of sex, and an unflinching parade of human vice. Get ready for racism, brutality, sexual abuse, and murder. There's also a particularly revolting pedophile side character that keeps an underage sex slave with him at all times like some sick pet. It's not all darkness and depraviry. The protagonist in particular is a good and even noble man in his way. Just don't expect the world he lives in to be the same.

Writing is great. Narration is spot on. The plot never lingers and world is well-realized and interesting. Just don't put this one on for the kiddos.

11 people found this helpful

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hardboiled

What made the experience of listening to Devil in a Blue Dress the most enjoyable?

good narration overall although narrator isn't great at accents.

Would you recommend Devil in a Blue Dress to your friends? Why or why not?

A classic detective novel - so not for everyone. I loved the scene of Watts in the late 40's actually a brilliant idea to take the classic hardboiled detective story out of white LA and into the black areas.

Overall - I enjoy the genre and this book is a classic example - in a good way

9 people found this helpful

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Well Done Hardboiled

Easy Rawlins has just lost his factory job and needs to find a way to make money before the the mortgage payment comes due for his home within just a few days. This is the late 1940s and Ezekiel, an African American has returned from the war battle worn and with few illusions, and his house is the one stable thing in his life for which he's willing to fight in order to keep. When a suspicious white man enrols him to find a white girl called Daphne Monet, last seen in one of the illegal bars in the company of a well-known gangster, Easy knows he can't trust the man and questions his motives for wanting to find Daphne in the first place. But money is money and this job pays well... though is he prepared for the most dangerous character in the story, in the shape of a very beautiful and sexy Daphne? This first novel in the Easy Rawlins series has a lot going for it, not least of which the descriptions of a bygone nitty gritty downtown Los Angeles where walking into a bar could be more dangerous than walking the streets at night. The hardboiled atmosphere is palpable and Ezekiel is easy to like, which means I'll more than likely be revisiting this series in near future. Having read this very shortly after the first book in the Harlem Cycle by Chester Himes, I feel confident in saying that Mosley was more than likely influenced by his predecessor, and that can only be a good thing.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful!

I thought the story, the writing and the reader were brilliant. I very much enjoyed the story.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Lynne A
  • 05-09-21

Great story , and a little different...

Really brings the lot of black Americans during the prohibition period to life. I learnt a lot. The characters are powerfully drawn, enabled by superb narration. In fact I don’t think I ever heard a story read better. Michael Boatman has every character nailed right down. However there are a lot of characters in this book and a large number of shootings and crime and double dealing ....sometimes I got a bit mixed up, but I enjoyed every minute. Fast paced, exciting, involving. Intriguing. Buy it. You won’t be sorry.

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  • butanica
  • 05-28-22

wow

A sensational novel full of passion, violence and street poetry. buy everything he's written

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  • CAROL
  • 12-10-21

excellent story

brilliant story and well read. enjoyed it all!
narrator's voice captured the essence of the book
.

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  • Paul D
  • 02-05-20

Raymond Chandler on steroids.

An interesting and engaging listen. I'm new to this author but will keep an eye for more books and he is now on my list of "better" authors in this genre.

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  • John Warwick
  • 11-12-16

Brilliant book

Where does Devil in a Blue Dress rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Never read any Walter Mosley books,this is a brilliant book,Rally,Really.Really enjoy it.

What did you like best about this story?

The Characters,the Story Line the Whole feeling of the book,a different insight to a different style of life.

Have you listened to any of Michael Boatman’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Michael Boatman make the book really come to life,Very good Narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I read this book over a couple of days,its one of them books you don't want to put down.

Any additional comments?

just really brilliant book,i would recommend this to anybody.

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  • halex
  • 07-25-15

Recommended. well read.

If you could sum up Devil in a Blue Dress in three words, what would they be?

Gripping. Evocative. Exciting.

What did you like best about this story?

Evokes the time and location very effectively. You feel like you are walking around solving the mystery.

Have you listened to any of Michael Boatman’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

Any additional comments?

no

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-21

Loved the authors voice

This book has such a strong sense of character and place. A thoroughly engaging tale.

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