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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: ROSE GOLD (EASY RAWLINS), Walter Mosley

“Easy Rawlins is up there with private detective greats Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade”


Easy Rawlins is back - and this time it's personal . . .

When four armed policemen turn up at Easy Rawlins' door, he thinks he's in trouble. He is. They want him to find Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a millionaire arms dealer. And Easy can't afford to say no. They think she's with Bob Mantle, a boxer turned radical. As a black man in post-war LA, Easy has access to Mantle's world. The LAPD does not. But Mantle's world is a dangerous one. When Easy is almost gunned down on his first day on the case, he realises he'll need more than his wits to find Rose Gold. Has she been kidnapped? Is she colluding? And what does her father really want? Taking you to the beating heart of a wild, corrupt city, Rose Gold matches an iconic detective with his most explosive case yet.


Easy by name, easy read by nature, Walter Mosley has perfected the understated, flowing style of a classic gumshoe mystery. His creation, Easy Rawlins, is up there with private detective greats Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and the like – as would be expected, given that this is the thirteenth Easy Rawlins novel.

What gives him a different edge though, is that Rawlins is a black detective working in 1960s America; a time of great change for everyone but especially for black people. Mosley evokes the period wonderfully, and the spectre of racism is never far away, but neither is it over-used; instead it is a simmering background unease that adds to the tension.

The plot in this novel revolves mainly around Easy’s hunt for Rose, a little rich girl who has got herself in deep with some revolutionaries, but there are a number of other cases he is juggling too. Although there are no big plot twists or surprises, there is no shortage of action as Easy gets into shoot-outs and fights, all while edging closer to the truth.

As a foil to all this, Mosley creates a simple home-life for his main character, and throws in some realistic, home-spun philosophising to boot.

One ends up with the feeling that if you met Easy Rawlins in real life, you would like him – and that probably explains the success and longevity of the Easy Rawlins detective series.


Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.


Walter Mosley is one of America's best known and best loved authors. He is the author of 37 critically acclaimed books including DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, which was made into the acclaimed 1995 film of the same name, starring Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle. He is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. HENRY AWARD, a GRAMMY and PEN AMERICA'S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. His books have been translated into 23 languages and have sold more than 3.5 million copies. He lives in New York.

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