Monday, January 05, 2004

Next was Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story by Steve Hodel in which the author, a former highly ranked police detective, attempts to make a case against his father as a serial murderer of women in and around Los Angeles in the late 1940s - 1950s, including the Black Dahlia and Red Lipstick murders. He first starts investigating when, after his father's death, Hodel finds what he believes are two pictures of Elizabeth Short in a small photo album among those of other loved ones. Eventually his investigation will lead him to speculate that his father and his father's friend committed a string of rape/murders and were not only known to the police and the district attorney's office as the perpetrators, but also that their crimes were covered up and they were allowed to escape without prosecution because of his father's prominence in the community and his involvement with an illegal abortion ring the police were protecting. Heavy stuff. The most damaging evidence is the handwriting samples and their link to two of the murders. Hodel submitted his evidence and write-up to a current prosecutor in LA who writes near the end that he would, with the evidence presented, feel confident in bringing Hodel's father up on murder charges for Elizabeth Short and Jeanne French (the Black Dahlia and Red Lipstick murders, respectively). Hodel further speculates about a number of other disappearances and unsolved murders, pointing to similar circumstances, causes of death, and MOs, including that of the mother of author James Ellroy (of LA Confidential fame) who has written not only about the Black Dahlia murder (The Black Dahlia, duh, which fictionalizes the crime) but also a non-fiction work about his mother's death and his investigation into her murder (My Dark Places, which I am picking up from the library tomorrow).

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