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White Butterfly

de Walter Mosley

Sèrie: Easy Rawlins (3)

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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....… (més)
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reaparece Easy, quiere tener una vida normal y burguesa, pero no puede. la policía le pide ayuda ya que estan matando prostitutas negras, pero hasta que matan una chica blanca no pasa nada. ( )
  gneoflavio | Dec 28, 2021 |
Ezekiel (Easy) Rawlins is now married to Regina Riles and has two children: a baby girl, Etna, and an adopted son, Jesus Peña. It's 1956 and Easy has kept the details of his real estate business and his "confidential" work secret from his wife. The secrecy is beginning to fester in the marriage.
White Butterfly opens when Detective Quinten Naylor asks Easy to help him at the scene of a murdered girl – the third one. When a fourth girl, this one white, Robin Garnett, is found similarly murdered, the entire LAPD is stirred even involving a representative from the governor. This unfairness angers Rawlins and he wants no part of the investigation when asked by Quinten Naylor, the only black detective on the force. Easy is forced into the investigation when Naylor threatens to take in Easy's friend Raymond (Mouse) Alexander.
Rawlins hunts down the serial murderer, J.T. Saunders and witnesses him being coldly killed by an undercover cop. Easy determines that Saunders could not have killed Garnett, who he has discovered is also named Cyndi Starr, and is known on stage as the White Butterfly. He finds out that she has given birth to a black baby, Feather. He also deduces that it was her father who killed Robin.
The murders are solved but along the way Easy has lost his wife and his daughter, Edna, to his former friend, Dupree Bouchard, and he has acquired another daughter when he takes in baby Feather.
  RonWelton | Mar 31, 2021 |
A decade or so ago, while on vacation, I found that my spouse had loaded a Walter Mosley book into our box of books and enjoyed it quite a lot. I have since read many other Mosley books on vacation. I have a feeling that the ones I subsequently read that involved Easy Rawlins were books further along in the line of the series. That is, I might have begun around book 6 or 7, and read on from there. So, last summer, I thought to begin at the beginning, so to speak and put this book (the third in the series) and two others on hold. Well, at the time, it seems, the library didn't actually have a licence to lend those books. So, the books I put on hold back on 1 August 2017, didn't actually become available until the following May. White Butterfly is the first of the three books I'd waited some nine months to read. It is the third in the Easy Rawlins' series, but the earliest one available at the time.

It seems to me, in reading this, that Easy had had a few rough edges smoothed off by the time he showed up in later novels. I don't know if this was by intent, or if it just happened. I didn't so much like the Easy in this book as I came to like him in subsequent books.

Easy is living with his wife, Regina, their baby, Edna, and the young boy, Jesus or "Juice", whom Easy had picked up along the way in one of his earlier adventures. Perhaps it's just that Easy is wrapped up in his troubles that he treats Regina so badly. He doesn't so much resort to physical violence (well, there is a scene of spousal rape), more he treats her as an afterthought. I didn't much like that. He also drank way too much and womanized on the side way too much, neither of which I remembered as being features of his later life. I'd always remembered Easy as a decent guy who could get rough when necessary. Given that I'm a repressed, elderly Calvinist, I wasn't happy with Easy's not-so-nice behavior in this book.

I do realize that Easy had some serious life and death problems. It seems there was a serial killer raping, mutilating and then murdering women in LA. But the cops didn't much care until one of the victims turned out to be a white girl who was a coed at UCLA and whose father was rich and influential. The cops come to Easy for some help, because Easy has some contacts in the black community that white cops in 1956 would never have.

So Easy agrees, reluctantly, to investigate a bit. Perhaps if he can find clues to the murderer of the black women, he'll be able to help finger the guy who appears also to have been the murderer of the white woman. One thing Easy discovers is that the young, white woman worked in some rather seamy joints as a stripper, under the stage name, White Butterfly. Next thing you know, the cops are trying to finger Easy for the murders. So, he has to find a way out and so forth. It was a pretty interesting book, with lots of observations about racism, but as I said, Easy was rather more of an asshole in this book than in any of the others I've read. So, I'll put it at the bottom of my list of Easy Rawlins' novels. Which still doesn't mean that it is not a GoodRead.

( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
The third book of Walter Mosley's "Easy Rawlins" series, this one set in 1956, features Easy as a married man and father, ostensibly employed as a handyman by a real estate rental agent known as Mofass. The LAPD virtually shanghais him to lead them to the killer of four girls. (Marks on the bodies suggest the same person killed all four.) The police aren't happy to be asking for some black guy's assistance. But three white men in suits, accompanied by a white and a black in uniform, show up unannounced and demand his cooperation. The black officer, Quinten Naylor, begins an explanation, but he's cut off by his superior, Anthony Violette.

"We're here to find out who's killing these girls," Violette said. He spoke with his upper lip tight against his teeth. "We don't want this crazy man running out streets."
  "That's some shit," I said. "Excuse me, but I'ma have to go me a beer if I gotta listen to this."
  "...What the hell are you trying to do, Rawlins?" Violette yelled.
  "Man, I'm in my own house, right? I ain't ask you over. Here you come crowdin' up my living room an' talkin' t' me like you got a blackjack in your pocket"—I was getting hot—"an' then you cryin' 'bout some dead girl an' I know there's been three before this one but you didn't give one good goddam! Because they was black girls an' this one is white!" If I had been on television every colored man and woman in America would have stood from their chairs and cheered.


Police information is sketchy at best, so Easy starts by compiling what he can from newspaper accounts. Where Willa Scott and Juliette LeRoi's were on the nights they were killed? Not known. Bonita Edwards reportedly was in a bar, had quite a few drinks, and was seen with quite a few men. But a witness said she left alone.

Robin Garnett
[ the white girl ] didn't make any sense at all. She lived with her parents on Hauser, way over in the western part of L. A. Her father was a prosecuting attorney for the city and her mother stayed home. Robin was a coed at UCLA. She was twenty-one and still a sophomore. She'd just recently returned from a trip to Europe, the paper said, and was expecting to major in education.
  ...It certainly didn't say why she was the fourth of a series of murders that started out with three black women. …[W]hy would somebody kill three good-time girls and then go after a bobby-soxer?

Not all is well at home either. He's telling Regina, his wife of two years, that he loves her, but his actions belie that sentiment. He's curt, withdrawn; he's holding her at arm's length, refusing to share the facts of his life (such as the fact that he owns the real estate and Mofass works for him), telling her precious little about what he's doing at all hours of the day or night. His anger is too near the surface. She's getting leery of him. She's pulling away. Easy's plan (fantasy) is to mollify her 'til the case is cracked and he can give her his full attention.

It's a lot of the tried and true motifs, visiting bars and chatting with friends and acquaintances who stagger along the murky, twisting path between good and bad, usually finding their safety lies in expediency. Yes, Mouse shows up; no, he doesn't kill anyone. Ya gotta read it. Goes fast.
1 vota weird_O | May 17, 2017 |
Easy he may be, but easy his life isn't. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 9, 2017 |
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For the stories he keeps on telling, I dedicate this book to Leroy Mosley.
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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....

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