Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

An important aspect of Mosley's fiction is its realism, enhanced by first person narration and tough language. Easy is a unique, creatively...

(The entire section is 346 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Mosley's fiction generally treats social problems that have strong contemporary interest, in spite of his historical approach. The novel is...

(The entire section is 291 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In Devil in a Blue Dress Mosley explores racial tensions and cultural history by means of a plot set in Los Angeles of 1948. The...

(The entire section is 369 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Bailey, Frankie Y. Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters in Crime and Detective Fiction. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. Comprehensive examination of the emergence and development of black characters in contemporary detective fiction. Includes the thoughts of a number of detective writers on their portrayal of black characters. Also provides information on the emergence of the black writer of detective fiction.

Binyon, T. J. Murder Will Out: The Detective in Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Discusses the detective as character within a variety of fictional styles, both British and American. A useful catalog of themes, plots, and settings. Not very strong, however, on African American writers or characters.

Geherin, David. The American Private Eye: The Image in Fiction. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1985. Comparative study of American detectives in fiction.

Mosley, Walter. “Walter Mosley: Writing About Easy.” Interview by Elsie B. Washington. Essence 21 (January, 1991): 32. Includes discussion by Mosley of the sources and purposes of his detective fiction.

Nolan, William F. The Black Mask Boys: Masters in the Hard-Boiled School of Detective Fiction. New York: William Morrow, 1985. Compendium of representative short fiction (by such writers as Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett) from Black Mask magazine 1920-1951, and a useful analysis of the hard-boiled style.

Skinner, Robert E. Two Guns from Harlem: The Detective Fiction of Chester Himes. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1989. Critical and historical study of Himes’s detective fiction. Provides useful information on models and African American predecessors.

Soitos, Stephen F. The Blues Detective: A Study of African American Detective Fiction. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996. Comprehensive overview of the history of mystery and detective fiction by African American writers. Bibliographic references and index.

Wesley, Marilyn C. Violent Adventure: Contemporary Fiction by American Men. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003. Study of masculinity in American fiction that includes a chapter on the representation of power in Devil in a Blue Dress and Ernest Gaines’s A Gathering of Old Men.

Wilson, Charles E., Jr. Walter Mosley: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003. Complete overview of Mosley’s career, including a biographical essay, an essay on the writer’s literary heritage, and a chapter devoted to Devil in a Blue Dress.

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Mosley's work is scarcely akin to that of the so-called "classic" mystery writers like E. C. Bentley, Arthur Conan Doyle, Erle Stanley...

(The entire section is 287 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

All of Mosley's novels are marked by themes centered on racism in society, the alienation of African Americans and the deterioration of their...

(The entire section is 205 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

An abridged audiocassette version was published in 1993, read by Paul Winfield. Also, there is an unabridged library edition of 1994, read by...

(The entire section is 93 words.)