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Whodunit: mini reviews of mysteries

Rose Gold, By Walter Mosley
Doubleday, 309 pages, $30

Rose GoldEasy Rawlins, the black Los Angeles PI, is an inventive investigator and usually finds himself in intricate cases. But sometimes, reading the Rawlins books—this is the 13th—the plots seem excuses for Mosely to examine the psychological and linguistic complications that a black man with smarts experiences in interactions with the white world. The new book, set in 1974, offers such encounters in steady doses. Easy’s job is to run down a billionaire’s daughter who has either been kidnapped by a gang of radicals or, in the Patty Hearst model, has willingly joined them. On the way to the solution, the smooth, nervy Rawlins talks himself past countless varieties of nastiness.

(via thestar.com)

Rose Gold

Rose GoldRose Gold is two colors, one woman, and a big headache.

In this new mystery set in the Patty Hearst era of radical black nationalism and political abductions, a black ex-boxer self-named Uhuru Nolica, the leader of a revolutionary cell called Scorched Earth, has kidnapped Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a weapons manufacturer, from her dorm at UC Santa Barbara. If they don’t receive the money, weapons, and apology they demand, “Rose Gold” will die—horribly and publicly. So the FBI, the State Department, and the LAPD turn to Easy Rawlins, the one man who can cross the necessary borders to resolve this dangerous standoff. With twelve previous adventures since 1990, Easy Rawlins is one of the small handful of private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called immortal. Rose Gold continues his ongoing and unique achievement in combining the mystery/PI genre form with a rich social history of postwar Los Angeles—and not just the black parts of that sprawling city.

Coming from Knopf Doubleday on September 23, 2014