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7PM to 8PM

Open to all. Hosted online using Zoom Meetings. 

TICKETS: Free, booking required.

ACCESSIBILITY: Live subtitles are available using Zoom's Live Transcript function.

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One of the first crime novels to centre an African-American protagonist, Devil in a Blue Dress – a hardboiled mystery set in Los Angeles in 1948 and introducing legendary private eye Easy Rawlins - inspired a generation of crime writers of colour and became a film starring Denzel Washington. With novelist and Chair of the Crime Writers' Association Vaseem Khan.

To aide the conversation, we have prepared three 'thinking points' to consider when reading Devil in a Blue Dress:

1. Devil in a Blue Dress was one of the first crime novels to place a black man as the central protagonist. How has the genre’s acceptance/depiction of non-white protagonists moved on in the 34 years since the book came out?     

2. Devil in a Blue Dress is a hardboiled mystery in the American tradition that was competing with the Golden Age mystery genre in the UK which had ruled supreme since the 1930s. How does Mosley use hardboiled tropes and transplant them to his black protagonist?     

3. The book came out in 1948 when race relations in the US were still strained. The book describes mixed-race relationships – how does the author humanise and dehumanise such relationships?

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley is available in paperback, hardback, audio and ebook formats, borrowable from public libraries or to purchase. To see what printed and digital copies are available from Cambridge University Libraries (borrowable by University staff and students), search iDiscover.

About The Really Popular Book Club

The Really Popular Book Club is Cambridge University Libraries' book group. Everyone is welcome to come and discuss a really popular book with the group, library staff, and an expert on the novel. Hosted on Zoom, the book club is completely free and open to everyone, people attend from all over the world. The Really Popular Book Club celebrates the huge range of books at Cambridge University Library. We have more than 8 million books and as a legal deposit library we keep a copy of every book published in the UK, and have done since 1710.

If you haven't attended one of our book club events before, you can find more information at