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Black Betty (1994)

by Walter Mosley

Series: Easy Rawlins (4)

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509847,958 (3.68)20
Five years have passed since the White Butterfly Affair, there?s a Kennedy in the White House and Martin Luther King is in the news. It might look like a new dawn for Black America but for Easy Rawlins times are only getting tougher - his real-estate empire is deep in the hole. Trouble comes knocking once more when Easy?s asked to find a missing woman, Elizabeth Eady, aka ?Black Betty?. From her native Houston to her position as housekeeper for a wealthy Beverly Hills family, Betty?s beauty and raw sensuality have left a trail of chaos and mayhem in her wake. Walter Mosley?s previous Easy Rawlins novels are White Butterfly, A Red Death and Devil in a Blue Dress, a film starring Denzel Washington as Easy.… (more)
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English (7)  Spanish (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This was the second of the Easy Rawlins' books I'd put on hold back in August, but only got access in May. The third book I sent back because a bunch of other long-term holds also became available suddenly. This tale was somewhat convoluted, and was a bit difficult to follow.

Easy's wife, Regina has left him, taking their daughter, Edna with her. Easy is living with Jesus (Juice) whom he picked up a while ago and a young daughter, Feather, whom he acquired at the end of the previous book. He is approached by a white detective, who is working for a rich family who would like Easy to track down their "servant", "Elizabeth" or Betty, who left them at the same time that the head of the household died. It seems that "Elizabeth" was essentially a member of the family. Easy well remembers Betty from another time. He had a massive crush on her when she was a rather alluring young woman who "liked" men, while he was a young, adolescent waif. He would follow her around.

Next thing you know, some rogue cop is beating the crap out of Easy. The rogue cop seems to have some connection with the family lawyer, who initially hired the private eye who then hired Easy. Then bodies start piling up, and the cops keep trying to implicate Easy. He has to untangle some rather strange family relationships along the way.

Well, sorry for the pathetic description, but this was a GoodRead. Oh, and by the way, Easy was much less of an asshole in this book that he was in the previous one. Much closer to my memories from the books I'd read a few years back.

( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
I had to read this book for a class. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I would have stumbled upon it, instead of knowing the professors agenda that was being imposed on the subject matter.
  aaproper1 | Jul 25, 2017 |
Set in 1961 in Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins, a former private investigator who specializes in finding people that need to be found in the black community, is hired on to find an old acquaintance of his, Black Betty. Easy isn’t the only one who is looking for her. Betty was working as a house keeper for a wealthy family, whose patriarch was murdered—the same man who has fathered her children. As Easy is investigating, Betty’s family members start dying as he unveils a conspiracy involving the police.

There really wasn’t much that I liked about this novel. For one thing, the story and mystery were a convoluted mess. Also, I realize that being black in 1961 Los Angeles must have sucked with the racial inequality that existed, but the way the author handled it was like smashing the reader over the head with a sledgehammer. Every few pages, it was being brought up and after a while, I felt like saying, “I get it already.” Finally, any scene involving Easy’s children was so syrupy that it was tough to read. In the end, I didn’t particularly enjoy this novel and I would recommend skipping it.

Carl Alves – author of Conjesero ( )
1 vote Carl_Alves | Jul 9, 2016 |
I was going to read all Easy Rawlins novels from scratch. This is my fourth book, and it will be the last. It seems like it's going downhill. This book is weak, incoherent, uninteresting. I made a big effort to get to the end, which didn't captivate me neither. ( )
  everfresh1 | Oct 22, 2012 |
Easy looks for missing maid
  ritaer | Jun 4, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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This book is dedicated to my father, who died on New Year's Day, 1993. I miss you, Dad.
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They were standing under a hard yellow light in the alley behind John's bar.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between this LT Work, Walter Mosley's original 1994 novel Black Betty, and the 2002 publication that also includes the original Easy Rawlins short story "Gator Green" (from Six Easy Pieces, 2003) Thank you.
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Five years have passed since the White Butterfly Affair, there?s a Kennedy in the White House and Martin Luther King is in the news. It might look like a new dawn for Black America but for Easy Rawlins times are only getting tougher - his real-estate empire is deep in the hole. Trouble comes knocking once more when Easy?s asked to find a missing woman, Elizabeth Eady, aka ?Black Betty?. From her native Houston to her position as housekeeper for a wealthy Beverly Hills family, Betty?s beauty and raw sensuality have left a trail of chaos and mayhem in her wake. Walter Mosley?s previous Easy Rawlins novels are White Butterfly, A Red Death and Devil in a Blue Dress, a film starring Denzel Washington as Easy.

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