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Devil in a Blue Dress: 09/14/21
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley is the start of the Easy Rawlings mystery series. Easy Rawlings has a $100 a month mortgage and just lost his job. He loves that house and reluctantly takes on a gig to find a missing woman named Daphne. He knows she'll lead him into trouble but he's got a mortgage.
The setting is Los Angeles in 1948. It's, not, however, Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles save for the few times Easy has business in white spaces. Even then, his experiences are still punctuated with micro and macro aggressions from the white folks he's forced to interact with.
Like so many mysteries where the main character is brought on board to do something or find something (or someone) when no one else can, Easy's progress is lined with bodies. People die because he's poking his nose into places everyone else has had the sense to avoid. While the setting and characters are completely different, the basic narrative flow of Devil in a Blue Dress reminds me of another mystery I recently finished, Coached to Death by Victoria Laurie.
The second book in the series is A Red Death (1991).