Monday, June 21, 2010

BOOK: A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley

A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley, 308 pages

Historical Mysteries Challenge; Colourful Challenge;

Easy Rawlins, that cool cat who starred in the Denzel movie, Devil in a Blue Dress from 1995, has turned over a new leaf. He's not living the street, he's got a real job as a supervisor of custodians at a school in East LA, in the 1960s. One morning before school starts, he has a steamy encounter with a teacher. She leaves her dog with him as she takes off after a body turns up in the school yard. Easy is drawn into a world he thought he left behind.

I read Devil in a Blue Dress years ago, and although A Little Yellow Dog is the 5th in the series, I didn't feel confused at all. I am usually more rigid about reading a series in order, but this worked. Mosley does a wonderful job of giving enough background to situations and characters so that I never felt confused. He also writes a tight, hardboiled mystery with a nuanced, lead character. I like that we are in Easy's head and we get to hear his logic. So many noir mysteries leave me unsure of what just happened or what that interaction was about, but this was just right. Crap, now I have another mystery series I'd really like to read more of.

Easy Rawlins and Mouse (Don Cheadle from the movie) are two characters who've got quite a past, and are trying to live their life, making tough decisions. They are so close to a violent, criminal world and make choices all the time. As Africa-American men in 1960s LA, a lot of choices are made for them and they deal with the cops too much. They make for a great story.

This is the last book for the Historical Mystery Challenge. I've still got a list I'd like to read but I have really enjoyed picking books for this challenge. I've started two new series, read the second in two others, and filled in a gap on a series where I've read over 15. Thanks for hosting to AF Heart over at Mysteries and My Musings, I've taken a few more off the TBR.

1. The Green Mill Murder - Kerry Greenwood 1920s
2. Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear 1920s
3. Bethlehem Road - Anne Perry 1880s (Victorian)
4. The Tale of Hill Top Farm - Susan Wittig Albert 1910s
5. A Little Yellow Dog - Walter Mosley 1960s

What is your favorite historical mystery series?