Watts sometime-detective Easy Rawlins (Devil in a Blue Dress, A Red Death) is married when Mosley picks up his tale in 1956, but he still hasn't settled down: He's never told his nurses'-aide wife Regina about the property he owns or how he spends his days, and the local law still leans on him for help when they're up against it. This time, a sex killer has taken a break from three low-profile snuffs of black women to murder UCLA cocci Robin Garnett, a.k.a. Cyndi Starr, the White Butterfly--a stripper who kept her scandalous public life very private--and the cops want answers they didn't care about before. Easy and his murderous friend Mouse drift through Morley's trademark bars, brothels, and Chinese laundries in LA. and S.F. in search of the police suspect, J. T. Saunders--but when the suspect is killed in a bar fight in front of his eyes, Easy smells a setup. As usual, plotting, setting, dialogue, and social comment are all as mannered as Raymond Chandler and--if the manner doesn't put you off--nearly as compelling.