White Butterfly takes place in 1956. Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, the hero of Walter Mosley’s previous two detective novels, is now married to a beautiful black nurse named Regina. Easy and Regina are rearing two children, their infant daughter, Edna, and Jesus, a young Mexican American boy rescued by Easy in an earlier adventure. This life is not idyllic, however. Easy has not told Regina about his secret business holdings or the detective work he does on the side for friends and the police. There are also other instances of miscommunication between the two that cloud the future of their marriage.
The situation worsens when Easy is approached first by black policeman Quinten Naylor and then by a slew of high city officials for help in tracing a serial murderer loose in Watts. This final burst of attention is brought about by the first white victim, Robin Garnett. Up until this time, the victims had been black prostitutes and exotic dancers. The white victim, however, was a college student from a respectable family. Like the other victims, her body was partly burned and mutilated. Easy resents the sudden concern of the white officials, apathetic when the victims were black. He is nevertheless coerced into helping when the police threaten to pin the crimes on Easy’s best friend, Mouse.
Easy goes to work, frequenting bars and asking questions that lead him to a suspect and to a disturbing revelation. The white coed led a double life,...
(The entire section is 595 words.)