Friday, July 07, 2006

An introduction to Walter Mosley

Some time ago I posted an item on Walter Mosley.

Now I've run across a simple introduction to Mosley's work that's available online from the New Yorker. If you don't know Mosley's work but might be interested in a spur to reading his novels, click here. The piece is dated--it's from 2004--yet conveys the general thrust of Mosley's work.

Here's the paragraph on the "Easy Rawlins" series:
“Devil in a Blue Dress,” the first Easy Rawlins mystery, was published in 1990, and was followed in quick succession by “A Red Death” (1991), “White Butterfly" (1992), “Black Betty” (1994), and “A Little Yellow Dog” (1996). It was evident that, while the Rawlins books did formally belong to the hardboiled-mystery genre, they were not conventional procedurals. Rather, Mosley was using the genre to explore the African-American experience in Los Angeles from the forties (“Devil in a Blue Dress” is set in 1948) to the sixties (“A Little Yellow Dog” is set in 1962); Mosley himself has said that the theme of the novels is “the black migration from the Deep South to Los Angeles and this blue-collar existential hero moving through time.” Still, the novels were mysteries, usually murder mysteries, and Rawlins and his sidekick, the volatile, violent Mouse Alexander, navigate the streets and back rooms of Los Angeles like typical gumshoes. In 1997, the series came to an end, at least temporarily, with “Gone Fishin’,” a prequel set in Houston in 1939, which Mosley had written in the nineteen-eighties but never published. Five years after “Gone Fishin’,” Mosley revived Rawlins for one more novel, “Bad Boy Brawley Brown,” in 2002, and a collection of short stories, “Six Easy Pieces,” in 2003. A new volume in the series, “Little Scarlet,” is scheduled for publication in July.
Since Little Scarlet Mosley has published another "Easy Rawlins" mystery, Cinnamon Kiss.

Click here for the official Walter Mosley site.

--Marshal Zeringue