White Butterfly by Walter Mosley
The police don't show up on Easy Rawlins's doorstep until the third girl dies. It's Los Angeles, 1956, and it takes more than one murdered black girl before the cops get interested. Now they need Easy. As he says: "I was worth a precinct full of detectives when the cops needed the word in the ghetto." But Easy turns them down. He's married now, a father -- and his detective days are over. Then a white college coed dies the same brutal death, and the cops put the heat on Easy: If he doesn't help, his best friend is headed for jail. So Easy's back, walking the midnight streets of Watts and the darker, twisted avenues of a cunning killer's mind.
Moderated by Carole Shmurak, author of 11 books and Professor Emerita at Central Connecticut State University. To participate, contact Carole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring 2021: Black Noir and Blanche White
The first African-American detective in fiction was Dr. John Archer, in the novel The Conjure-Man Dies (1932) by Rudolph Fisher. Dr. Archer appeared in only one short story after that, and Fisher died in 1934. It took another 25 years for the next black detectives: Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson, in Chester Himes’s A Rage in Harlem (1958). Female African-American detectives didn’t appear until the 1990s, with Nikki Baker, Eleanor Taylor Brand, and Barbara Neely all publishing their first detective novels in 1991–92. This spring, we’ll consider five authors, two white and three black, whose detectives are African-American.