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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Black Betty is Walter Mosley's fourth crime novel about the African American private detective Ezekiel “Easy” Porterhouse Rawlins.

Now divorced and living in rented accommodation with his adopted son and daughter, Easy accepts a job to find a woman called Elizabeth Eady, but whom he knows better as Black Betty. By coincidence he knew her from his childhood in Houston. She was in his words,

a great shark of a woman. Men died in her wake.

She later moved to LA with her brother to become a servant to the rich and dysfunctional Cain family, but disappeared soon after the death of the Cain family patriarch Albert Cain.

Rawlings eventually tracks her down to her friend's house, but not before he has suffered numerous beatings and uncovered a series of awful crimes. It turns out Albert Cain had raped Elizabeth and she had given birth to two of his children—Terry and Gwendolyn. Cain decided to leave his estate to Elizabeth Eady and her children, but what was meant as an act of contrition turned out to be the motive for the murder of Terry, Gwendolyn, and Elizabeth's brother Marlon.

Rawlings finds out the murders were committed by Arthur's daughter's husband Ron Hawkes, who had hoped to get access to the Cain's fortune.

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