BOOKS: EASY'S EARLY DAYS

HERE'S A MYSTERY: WHY WASN'T WALTER MOSLEY'S FIRST NOVEL PUBLISHED SOONER?

Mystery writer Walter Mosley finished his first novel, Gone Fishin', in 1988, but he couldn't find an agent or a publisher who would touch it back then because they feared that a thriller about working-class African Americans would bomb at bookstores. Then along came Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale. Settling in on the best-seller list for 43 weeks, her tale about four middle-class black women proved there was an audience for commercial fiction by black authors and sent publishers scrambling to find the next black blockbuster. Mosley's second manuscript, Devil in a Blue Dress, a continuation of the story he'd begun...

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