I took note again this year that the Fourth of July compels many Americans to fly the stars and stripes in front of their homes. But as I traveled around the region (greater Washington metropolitan area; as well as a trip to Baltimore), it seemed to be white (and not Black) neighborhoods that had most of the red-white-and blue on display.
I adore a good mystery and I really enjoy reading Walter Mosley. I saw him at a recent book signing at the cherished Washington, DC independent bookstore Politics and Prose. Mosley read from his new work and was peppered with questions from a large and appreciative audience.
I’d become a fan of Mosley while reading my first Easy Rawlins mystery and I was one among many at the reading that evening who loved the characters in this series. Someone asked Mosley if he missed the charismatic Easy and the sociopathic “Mouse” Anderson and Mosley answered emphatically that he did not. He must have seen the collective sag of our soldiers so he admitted that he had not intended to “kill off” Easy, it just seemed to happen and then decided to leave Easy’s demise as written. That revelation confirmed what we already felt-Mosley may have created Easy Rawlins for the page, but Easy is such a strong force he has created a life of his own.
Just a week ago, I watched Devil in a Blue Dress, based on the first novel in the Rawlins series. The film has a very cool Denzel Washington playing Easy and the inimitable Don Cheadle as Mouse. I’ve seen this film several times and I’m always amazed at its brilliant design. Carl Franklin directed and wrote the screenplay for this cinematic gem that is at once raw and endearing. It’s not often the case that a movie version of a novel can satisfy the way the book does. That this film succeds, is a tribute to Walter Mosley’s authentic voice and his genius at developing vivid and enduring characters.
p.s. I am always happy when reading a well-written mystery. In future blogs, I’ll give tribute to Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series; Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone mysteries; the brilliant Blanche White series by Barbara Neely; and, of course, there’s Agatha Christie.