I do urge anyone who loves the short story to join us in trying to read 365 short stories this year. You can find the site here.
Ed Gorman is the author of the Dev Conrad series and the Sam McCain series, both thoroughly enjoyable. You can find him here.
Patti Abbott-DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, Walter Mosley
Sometimes I think we are too cavalier at FFB about remembering books that became classics of a sort but are still growing old. I am embarrassed to say that the first crime fiction book I read featuring a black detective was DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS by Walter Mosley. I have read several more of his books, but this one will stay with me because it introduced such a great character and his sidekick and also the novelty of bringing the story forward by leaps and bounds with each new book. He is also a terrific writer who deserves more acclaim.
Devil in a Blue Dress appeared in 1990. The story begins with Easy Rawlins, our future detective, out-of-work and unable to pay his mortgage. He's offered a job finding a young woman named Daphne Monet, a white woman known to frequent African-American bars.
Nothing is what it initially seems and with the help of his friend, Mouse, Easy navigates some dangerous terrain. He is the perfect character, easy to like but suitably flawed.
Although I know Chester Himes wrote well before Mosley, this was my first experience with a black detective and Mosley was, and is, so skilled at capturing the times, the people, and serving up a darn good plot.
J. Kingston Pierce
Tipping My Fedora