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*A Times Book of the Year 2017 - Shortlisted for the 2018 Gold Dagger Award for Crime Non-Fiction* Los Angeles, 1947. A housewife out for a walk with her baby notices a cloud of black flies buzzing ominously in Leimert Park. An "unsightly object" is identified as the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, an aspiring starlet from Massachusetts who had been lured west by the si *A Times Book of the Year 2017 - Shortlisted for the 2018 Gold Dagger Award for Crime Non-Fiction* Los Angeles, 1947. A housewife out for a walk with her baby notices a cloud of black flies buzzing ominously in Leimert Park. An "unsightly object" is identified as the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, an aspiring starlet from Massachusetts who had been lured west by the siren call of Hollywood. Her killer would never be found, but Short’s death would bring her the fame she had always sought. Her murder investigation transformed into a real-life film noir, featuring corrupt cops, femmes fatales, gun-slinging gangsters, and hungry reporters, replete with an irresistible, legendary moniker adapted from a recent film—The Black Dahlia. For over half a century this crime has maintained an almost mythic place in American lore as one of our most inscrutable cold cases. With the recently unredacted FBI file, newly released sections of the LAPD file, and exclusive interviews with the suspect’s family, relentless legal sleuth Piu Eatwell has gained unprecedented access to evidence and persuasively identified the culprit. Black Dahlia, Red Rose layers these findings into a gritty, cinematic retelling of the haunting tale. As Eatwell chronicles, among the first to arrive at the grisly crime scene was Aggie Underwood, the "tough-as-nails" city editor for the Los Angeles Evening Herald Express; meanwhile, the chain-smoking city editor for the Los Angeles Examiner, Jimmy Richardson, sent out his own reporters. Eatwell reveals how, through a cutthroat race to break news and sell papers, the public image of Elizabeth Short was distorted from a violated beauty to a "man crazy delinquent." As rumors of various boyfriends circulated, the true story of the complex young woman ricocheting between jobs, lovers, and homes was lost. Instead, kitschy headlines tapped into a wider social anxiety about the city’s "girl problem," and Short’s black chiffon and smoldering gaze become a warning for "loose" women coming of age in postwar America. Applying her own background as a lawyer to the surprising new evidence, Eatwell ultimately exposes many startling clues to the case that have never surfaced in public. From the discovery of Elizabeth’s notebook, inscribed with the name of the city’s most notorious and corrupt businessman, to a valid suspect plucked from the hundreds of "confessing Sams" by a brilliant, well-meaning doctor, Eatwell compellingly captures every "big break" in the police investigation to reveal a truly viable resolution to the case. In rich, atmospheric prose, Eatwell separates fact from fantasy to expose the truth behind the sinewy networks of a noir-tinged Hollywood. Black Dahlia, Red Rose at long last accords the Elizabeth Short case its due resolution, providing a reliable and enduring account of one of the most notorious unsolved murders in American history.


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*A Times Book of the Year 2017 - Shortlisted for the 2018 Gold Dagger Award for Crime Non-Fiction* Los Angeles, 1947. A housewife out for a walk with her baby notices a cloud of black flies buzzing ominously in Leimert Park. An "unsightly object" is identified as the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, an aspiring starlet from Massachusetts who had been lured west by the si *A Times Book of the Year 2017 - Shortlisted for the 2018 Gold Dagger Award for Crime Non-Fiction* Los Angeles, 1947. A housewife out for a walk with her baby notices a cloud of black flies buzzing ominously in Leimert Park. An "unsightly object" is identified as the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, an aspiring starlet from Massachusetts who had been lured west by the siren call of Hollywood. Her killer would never be found, but Short’s death would bring her the fame she had always sought. Her murder investigation transformed into a real-life film noir, featuring corrupt cops, femmes fatales, gun-slinging gangsters, and hungry reporters, replete with an irresistible, legendary moniker adapted from a recent film—The Black Dahlia. For over half a century this crime has maintained an almost mythic place in American lore as one of our most inscrutable cold cases. With the recently unredacted FBI file, newly released sections of the LAPD file, and exclusive interviews with the suspect’s family, relentless legal sleuth Piu Eatwell has gained unprecedented access to evidence and persuasively identified the culprit. Black Dahlia, Red Rose layers these findings into a gritty, cinematic retelling of the haunting tale. As Eatwell chronicles, among the first to arrive at the grisly crime scene was Aggie Underwood, the "tough-as-nails" city editor for the Los Angeles Evening Herald Express; meanwhile, the chain-smoking city editor for the Los Angeles Examiner, Jimmy Richardson, sent out his own reporters. Eatwell reveals how, through a cutthroat race to break news and sell papers, the public image of Elizabeth Short was distorted from a violated beauty to a "man crazy delinquent." As rumors of various boyfriends circulated, the true story of the complex young woman ricocheting between jobs, lovers, and homes was lost. Instead, kitschy headlines tapped into a wider social anxiety about the city’s "girl problem," and Short’s black chiffon and smoldering gaze become a warning for "loose" women coming of age in postwar America. Applying her own background as a lawyer to the surprising new evidence, Eatwell ultimately exposes many startling clues to the case that have never surfaced in public. From the discovery of Elizabeth’s notebook, inscribed with the name of the city’s most notorious and corrupt businessman, to a valid suspect plucked from the hundreds of "confessing Sams" by a brilliant, well-meaning doctor, Eatwell compellingly captures every "big break" in the police investigation to reveal a truly viable resolution to the case. In rich, atmospheric prose, Eatwell separates fact from fantasy to expose the truth behind the sinewy networks of a noir-tinged Hollywood. Black Dahlia, Red Rose at long last accords the Elizabeth Short case its due resolution, providing a reliable and enduring account of one of the most notorious unsolved murders in American history.

30 review for Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America's Greatest Unsolved Murder

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Anderson

    Tons of research and facts, but not enough of a narrative flow for my taste. Your mileage may vary

  2. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    For readers familiar with the noir soaked unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, aka the Black Dahlia, this book recounts much of the information already printed and glamorized in film but it does so in a way that is refreshing and feels 'new'. If anything, Black Dahlia Red Rose reads more like crime fiction with a rolling narrative emphasizing the criminal investigation and spotlighting one key suspect in particular, Lesley Dillon who was staying as the Astor Hotel, the suspected place of Shorts b For readers familiar with the noir soaked unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, aka the Black Dahlia, this book recounts much of the information already printed and glamorized in film but it does so in a way that is refreshing and feels 'new'. If anything, Black Dahlia Red Rose reads more like crime fiction with a rolling narrative emphasizing the criminal investigation and spotlighting one key suspect in particular, Lesley Dillon who was staying as the Astor Hotel, the suspected place of Shorts brutally violent murder (the hotel is still standing today but only rents rooms by the hour and has no advertising, website, or phone listing according to the author). The Dahlia case aside there's a lot of page time dedicated to the alleged corruption of the LAPD of the time which immediately get's the reader thinking of cover-ups and coercion. The Gangster Squad features heavily and is portrayed as a beacon of justice despite some of the squad members more questionable interpretation of the thin blue line, a line they weren't afraid to cross. My rating: 5/5. This is a great book which true crime enthusiasts will lap up. Jeff Harding narrated the audio edition and did a nice job of ensuring the tone of the book didn't come across as a newsreel, rather, complimenting the free flowing narrative of the investigation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    In this book, author Piu Marie Eatwell, looks at one of the most notorious unsolved murder cases in history. Elizabeth Short’s mutilated body was discovered on the morning of January 15th, 1947, by a young mother, who was on her way to pick up her husband’s shoes. At first, she thought she saw a mannequin, lying, abandoned on the ground. Her call to the police, unsure of what she had actually seen (with a three year old in tow, it is reasonable that she did not wish to investigate too closely) l In this book, author Piu Marie Eatwell, looks at one of the most notorious unsolved murder cases in history. Elizabeth Short’s mutilated body was discovered on the morning of January 15th, 1947, by a young mother, who was on her way to pick up her husband’s shoes. At first, she thought she saw a mannequin, lying, abandoned on the ground. Her call to the police, unsure of what she had actually seen (with a three year old in tow, it is reasonable that she did not wish to investigate too closely) led to a case which remains unsolved to this day. This is not just the story of Elizabeth Short’s murder, though; Eatwell is eager to ‘solve’ the case. True Crime books which attempt to do this are often quite unsuccessful – note Patricia Cornwell’s obsession with the Ripper murders and Walter Sickert. Eatwell does have a suspect in mind; unemployed bellhop, Lesley Dillon. However, I was pleased to see that, although she obviously thinks Dillon is the most likely candidate, she not only has evidence to back up her conclusions, but she does not state with certainty that she is correct. Indeed, she also suggests other possibilities, although it is unlikely that the case will be solved now. Alongside the crime, this is the story of a place, and a time. It looks at the corruption of the LAPD, of news reporters eager for a story and of such journalists as Agnes Underwood, who was a rare, female reporter in a, very, male profession. Shockingly, reporters first called Elizabeth Short’s mother pretending that she had won a beauty profession, in order to get a back story, before cruelly breaking the news of her murder. Although Elizabeth Short was not the only young woman murdered in L.A. the combination of her good looks and the nickname, ‘the Black Dahlia,’ encouraged press interest. It is also interesting to see how Elizabeth Short was viewed throughout the investigation into her murder. Victim, tease, vamp, harlot and hustler – Elizabeth Short was all of those and more. As so often happens, after the initial shock of her, very gruesome, murder, she was judged on her behaviour. Young and drawn to Los Angeles, she is rumoured to have been as aspiring actress, but seemed to do little to try to create a career for herself. She spend much of her time trying to find somewhere to stay and to pay for her keep. This, obviously, made her reputation fodder for the press, who were eager to exploit her to sell newspapers. Overall, a dark and depressing read, but the author does make a good attempt to tell the story without forcing her views too dogmatically.

  4. 4 out of 5

    andrea

    Shrug. That's my brief review. Long version...if you've never read ANYTHING about this case before you might enjoy. But if this is one of multiple pieces you've read about Black Dahlia then you will pry be bored to tears. While the theory is just as plausible as any other presented in the abundance of words written about Elizabeth Short...muddling through the book is complete drudgery. WAY too many footnotes...WAY too many back references to "see previous place where I stated the EXACT SAME THING. Shrug. That's my brief review. Long version...if you've never read ANYTHING about this case before you might enjoy. But if this is one of multiple pieces you've read about Black Dahlia then you will pry be bored to tears. While the theory is just as plausible as any other presented in the abundance of words written about Elizabeth Short...muddling through the book is complete drudgery. WAY too many footnotes...WAY too many back references to "see previous place where I stated the EXACT SAME THING." ...WAY too many repetitions of presenting the same evidence over and over and over again. Do yourself a favor...read the Wikipedia page on Black Dahlia. It'll take far less time, be equally informative, and likely more enjoyable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Damron

    I have always been fascinated with the Black Dahlia case. This book was thoroughly researched. The author knows her stuff for sure. However, I felt that something was missing in this book. Maybe heart or compassion. Things were just briefly talked about and then on to the next discovery. With Ann Rule or Joe McGinniss you get so much more than just fact after fact. They give life and dignity to the people they discuss. I feel like this author did not do that and the book suffered just a bit beca I have always been fascinated with the Black Dahlia case. This book was thoroughly researched. The author knows her stuff for sure. However, I felt that something was missing in this book. Maybe heart or compassion. Things were just briefly talked about and then on to the next discovery. With Ann Rule or Joe McGinniss you get so much more than just fact after fact. They give life and dignity to the people they discuss. I feel like this author did not do that and the book suffered just a bit because of that. I am glad I read the book. To read about the police corruption of the Dahlia case in particular was maddening. I truly believe they had the killer in their clutches and let him walk free. Utterly disgusting. If you are fascinated by the Dahlia case I would say to read this book. It is worth the read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Taryn

    I had to squirm (and occasionally skim) my way through this book because I’m squeamish when it comes to violence, but the Black Dahlia murder and Piu Eatwell’s deep dive into the evidence are fascinating enough to make the ick factor worth it. I didn’t know anything about the case going in, but even if you have some background, Eatwell fought for access to evidence never before released—and she has a compelling argument as to the identity of the culprit. She’s also an accomplished historian who I had to squirm (and occasionally skim) my way through this book because I’m squeamish when it comes to violence, but the Black Dahlia murder and Piu Eatwell’s deep dive into the evidence are fascinating enough to make the ick factor worth it. I didn’t know anything about the case going in, but even if you have some background, Eatwell fought for access to evidence never before released—and she has a compelling argument as to the identity of the culprit. She’s also an accomplished historian who excels at creating a sense of place. Black Dahlia, Red Rose is as much a snapshot of postwar LA as it is an analysis of the murder investigation, and even though I’ve never been to California, having read this book I now feel like I have. True crime can be tough to read. With crime novels, no matter how sick and twisted, you can at least comfort yourself with the thought that it’s all a figment of the author’s imagination. We’re granted no such distance here. Elizabeth Short was a real person whose life was ended purposefully and brutally. So what makes the book worth reading, despite the gruesomeness of the crime itself? In my opinion, it’s the opportunity to explore who the so-called Black Dahlia really was, behind the sensational headlines and prejudice of the times. It’s too easy to cast a beautiful young female murder victim as either a saintly virgin or a disgraced harlot. Based on the picture Eatwell paints of Short, I personally think she (like all women) was more complicated than that false dichotomy allows. Adding to the intrigue is Eatwell’s exposure of the bald-faced corruption of the LAPD and their unwillingness to bring the killer to justice. As a cock-eyed optimist, I found the department’s failure appalling, but if you’re the jaded type you probably won’t be too surprised. I guess we’ve seen several examples in the news just recently that prove rules don’t apply to white men in powerful positions. I should have known. Recommended for true crime enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone who likes non-fiction that reads like fiction. More book recommendations by me at www.readingwithhippos.com

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Black Dahlia murder case remains a brutal unsolved mystery murder case. Committed by someone familiar with surgical techniques, the murder of twenty-two year old Elizabeth Short, the so-called Black Dahlia because of the lingerie she wore and her jet-black hair. The investigation has never been solved, but I believe Piu Eatwell has finally done that. Using previously unreleased FBI and LAPD files, in addition to the first-hand accounts of people like news reporter Aggie Underwood and Dr. DeR The Black Dahlia murder case remains a brutal unsolved mystery murder case. Committed by someone familiar with surgical techniques, the murder of twenty-two year old Elizabeth Short, the so-called Black Dahlia because of the lingerie she wore and her jet-black hair. The investigation has never been solved, but I believe Piu Eatwell has finally done that. Using previously unreleased FBI and LAPD files, in addition to the first-hand accounts of people like news reporter Aggie Underwood and Dr. DeRiver, psychologist of the LAPD during the time of the murder, the author makes a compelling argument about the identity of the killer. She also explains who else might’ve been behind the scenes of the murder, as well as the corruption and cover-up perpetrated by the LAPD and their associates. Highly recommended, 5 stars. I personally loved the way the author set the story for Los Angeles in 1940s post-war America. Narrative nonfiction doesn’t always work, but I really liked the way she blended fact and story to get a let’s-face-it not pleasant topic across. Elizabeth Short was brutally murdered, according to the author’s website, by being “bludgeoned to death, her mouth slit wide on each side. Severe post-mortem lacerations had been made to the body. Most shocking, the corpse had been hacked in two.” The influences of Hollywood are all over Los Angeles (as they have been since the movie industry has been in existence), but there is also the influence of of gangsters and their cronies, like Mark Hansen, who peddled sex and drugs, and encouraged women to sell themselves body and soul to get into pictures and become famous. I had heard stories about the corruption of the LAPD but to read about it and the depth to which it went, was fascinating, and really makes me want to read a book about that all on its own. The lengths to which they went to in order to cover up the dealings of certain members of the force, basically sabotaged the entire Black Dahlia murder investigation. After reading this book, I can very much imagine a scene as described by the author, between the man who ordered Elizabeth Short’s murder and the man who actually committed it, just like Henry II telling his knights to “get rid of this troublesome priest” when they murdered the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas a Becket. I found it very fascinating that the author, at the end of the book, discovered Leslie Dillon’s daughter was named Elizabeth, adding that just extra bit of creepiness to an already creepy story. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from W.W. Norton & Company in exchange for my honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Missy (myweereads)

    “Elizabeth, Betty, Bette, Beth, Gilda, the martyr, the angel, the whore, the icon. Elizabeth Short...” Black Dahlia Red Rose by Piu Eatwell is a re-examination of the Black Dahlia murder. The book looks at gripping new evidence to solve the seventy year old mystery of America’s most famous crime. Now over the years I’ve read and seen a lot of different conflicting angles on the murder case of Elizabeth Short. What has always baffled me is why nobody was charged with her brutal murder. This book la “Elizabeth, Betty, Bette, Beth, Gilda, the martyr, the angel, the whore, the icon. Elizabeth Short...” Black Dahlia Red Rose by Piu Eatwell is a re-examination of the Black Dahlia murder. The book looks at gripping new evidence to solve the seventy year old mystery of America’s most famous crime. Now over the years I’ve read and seen a lot of different conflicting angles on the murder case of Elizabeth Short. What has always baffled me is why nobody was charged with her brutal murder. This book lays out the case from the very beginning up until the author’s finding from last year. I found this to be a very clear cut presentation of the case. There are key facts and evidence which is discussed and theories followed throughout the years uncovering some crazy allegations against the police and the people who were last in touch with Elizabeth Short. The account is easy to follow and some very interesting points I hadn’t picked up before are mentioned in this book. Whilst reading it I at times forgot this really happened. The brutal and public murder of a woman who had so many ties to so many people was gripping to follow to find out what the conclusion was. The FBI still class this as an unsolved murder but with the evidence discussed it’s pretty obvious who it was and the failing of justice is bizarre and shocking to read through. The author does an excellent job in presenting the case from all angles for the reader. There were other cases loosely linked to this one which I had no idea about. I gained a lot of information with ties to the mob and famous celebrities in Hollywood at that time in 1940s. A very gripping and interesting read. I managed to devour it in one sitting 🙈 I wish this book was out before I went to LA and had seen the Aster Motel, the sight of the Black Dahlia Murder. What’s creepy is I stayed at The Biltmore Hotel 👀

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    Definitely convincing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ionia

    Because so much has been written about this infamous cold-case, I didn't expect there would be a lot of new information in this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the author managed to dig out details I hadn't read about before. I love crime books and particularly historical crime nonfiction, so this was immediately something I knew I had to read. Piu Eatwell does a good job relaying the facts of the case in a way that is not dry and boring. At times, while reading this, I felt like I w Because so much has been written about this infamous cold-case, I didn't expect there would be a lot of new information in this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the author managed to dig out details I hadn't read about before. I love crime books and particularly historical crime nonfiction, so this was immediately something I knew I had to read. Piu Eatwell does a good job relaying the facts of the case in a way that is not dry and boring. At times, while reading this, I felt like I was reading a novel rather than a nonfiction book. The way she put this together with details from the original reports as well as her opinions on the case made for a compelling read. I found myself turning pages and eager to get to the next chapter to find out what else she had uncovered. I never felt like I was reading another rehash of previous books written on the Dahlia Murder. This was a fresh look at a popular unsolved crime from years ago. This was an interesting book with a lot to offer anyone who enjoys historical crime. I was happy to read it and am also happy to recommend it. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I could not put this book down. It was absolutely fascinating. I have always been interested in historical crimes and the Black Dahlia murder is one of them. This book is not really about the crime itself but the investigation or lack of investigation that was done into it. What is so shocking is the corruption, the lies, the cover-up, the 'loss of evidence', the 'misplacing' of evidence and statements. Not to mention witnesses who suddenly remember they were wrong about their testimony or that I could not put this book down. It was absolutely fascinating. I have always been interested in historical crimes and the Black Dahlia murder is one of them. This book is not really about the crime itself but the investigation or lack of investigation that was done into it. What is so shocking is the corruption, the lies, the cover-up, the 'loss of evidence', the 'misplacing' of evidence and statements. Not to mention witnesses who suddenly remember they were wrong about their testimony or that they didn't really say that or who just disappear. The L.A. police, the court system and politicians were so rank and criminal it is hard to believe. The author has done an amazing job of investigating all of this despite the 70 years that have passed since then. If you like true crime or even just history this is definitely the book for you. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Law

    Black Dahlia Red Rose, by Piu Eatwell, is a re-examination of a brutal murder that occured seventy years ago in America which has never been officially solved. Told as a true crime story it offers a snapshot of Los Angeles, its police department and citizens, in an era that will be familiar from film. As the author writes in her preface: “This era is commonly visualized through the movies, as the era of film noir: a time of corrupt cops and gun-toting gangsters, cynical heroes, and bottle blondes Black Dahlia Red Rose, by Piu Eatwell, is a re-examination of a brutal murder that occured seventy years ago in America which has never been officially solved. Told as a true crime story it offers a snapshot of Los Angeles, its police department and citizens, in an era that will be familiar from film. As the author writes in her preface: “This era is commonly visualized through the movies, as the era of film noir: a time of corrupt cops and gun-toting gangsters, cynical heroes, and bottle blondes doling out deadpan one-liners. But the slick film noir repartee belied the brutal inequalities of reality. In truth, it was a tough time after a tough war in a tough world.” This tough world was being navigated by beautiful young women with stars in their eyes who descended on Los Angeles looking for fame. What they found instead were predatory men who viewed the aspiring starlets as expendable game. The Black Dahlia was twenty-two year old Elizabeth Short, whose body was found dumped on waste ground in an LA suburb. She had been beaten, slashed, bled out and cut in two. The newspapers of the time were allowed access to evidence and potential suspects that would be unthinkable today. Often it was the journalists who moved the case forward. As evidence mounted it seemed that key figures within the police wished to stifle the investigation. Unusually for the time, the LAPD employed a forensic psychologist, Dr Paul De River. He produced a profile of the killer and was subsequently contacted by a man who appeared a potential fit. There were other suspects but the most likely had powerful contacts who routinely paid the police for their cooperation. Corruption ran deep throughout the city and the Black Dahlia was one of many murders in a society that regarded its young women as objects whose purpose was to provide pleasure for others. The story is structured in narrative form but is written using facts gleaned from documents produced throughout the original investigation. The LAPD continue to refuse to release key evidence, some of which has mysteriously disappeared. The book provides a detailed account of the crime and those tasked with apprehending a murderer. It is a search for the truth, suppressed on the remit of powerful individuals, now dead. From the discovery of the body through to the case being finaly shelved, the reader is offered insights, fully cross-referenced and explained in footnotes, a bibliography and detailed endnotes. The story told is a lesson in the sham of 1950s supposed values, and in the lack of value placed on certain lives. The photographs at the end, drawn from evidence, are chilling. The author has studied this evidence, consulted with experts, and drawn a conclusion as to the likely killer. As a lawyer she is well placed to undertake this task. She offers a cinematic retelling of the case that is evocative and compelling. An example of fact being even more shocking than fiction. My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Coronet.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Xisix

    Piu makes fairly clear case that Leslie Dillon in cahoots with Mark Hansen killed Elizabeth Short. Rakish, tiny-dicked, pimp who liked to drug girls was "boyfriend" acquaintance who knew her and was identified as staying at Astor Motel where large quantities of blood and feces where cleaned up by owners. The Black Dahlia's trysts and begging from so many men and travelling helped cloud waters of suspects. Add in LAPD conspiracy spearheaded by Finis Albania Brown and you lead to an unsolved case. Piu makes fairly clear case that Leslie Dillon in cahoots with Mark Hansen killed Elizabeth Short. Rakish, tiny-dicked, pimp who liked to drug girls was "boyfriend" acquaintance who knew her and was identified as staying at Astor Motel where large quantities of blood and feces where cleaned up by owners. The Black Dahlia's trysts and begging from so many men and travelling helped cloud waters of suspects. Add in LAPD conspiracy spearheaded by Finis Albania Brown and you lead to an unsolved case. Thought Leslie Dillon's "creative writing" with it's spelling errors seemed very similar to killer's notes to police. Did grow tired of footnotes on every page though this text made reasonable connections between characters involved and locations. Towards end of book, I wondered what would have happened to the Black Dahlia had she lived ? Independant and doomed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Black Dahlia Red Rose is a book that takes it's place beside many books on this crime that captured America's attention. An unsolved mystery of a Hollywood starlet, this book seeks to solve this decades old crime. Using recently released FBI files as well as interviews never before heard of, this book makes a credible argument for solving the mystery. As to whether it is true or not - it is hard to say. This book does a good job of capturing the way the Dahlia was demonized in the press for being Black Dahlia Red Rose is a book that takes it's place beside many books on this crime that captured America's attention. An unsolved mystery of a Hollywood starlet, this book seeks to solve this decades old crime. Using recently released FBI files as well as interviews never before heard of, this book makes a credible argument for solving the mystery. As to whether it is true or not - it is hard to say. This book does a good job of capturing the way the Dahlia was demonized in the press for being a sexual being - a cautionary tale as it were. If this story captivates you, you will enjoy this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wesley Britton

    Eighty years after her murder on January 14 or 15, 1947, you’d think there’d be nothing new to say about the death of Elizabeth Short, dubbed “The Black Dahlia” by the Las Angeles press. Over the decades, her short life has been fictionalized in print and on screen, and she’s been portrayed as everything from a prostitute, would-be actress, a lesbian, to a frigid sexual tease. Without question, the moniker of “Black Dahlia” put Short into the national spotlight in 1947 and afterward, along with t Eighty years after her murder on January 14 or 15, 1947, you’d think there’d be nothing new to say about the death of Elizabeth Short, dubbed “The Black Dahlia” by the Las Angeles press. Over the decades, her short life has been fictionalized in print and on screen, and she’s been portrayed as everything from a prostitute, would-be actress, a lesbian, to a frigid sexual tease. Without question, the moniker of “Black Dahlia” put Short into the national spotlight in 1947 and afterward, along with the much publicized grotesque, lurid details of how her body was found. Her face had been slashed from the corners of her mouth to her ears, portions of her thighs had been sliced away, her body had been cut completely in half, and The lower half of her body was positioned a foot away from the upper half. And that’s just part of the mutilations she endured. The public was further intrigued on January 24, 1947 when a suspicious manila envelope was discovered by a U.S. Postal Service worker that had individual words that had been cut-and-pasted from newspaper clippings. A large message on the face of the envelope read: "Here is Dahlia's belongings” containing Short's birth certificate, business cards, photographs, names written on pieces of paper, and an address book with the name Mark Hansen embossed on the cover. Not surprisingly, Police quickly deemed Mark Hansen, a man with underworld connections, a suspect. Author Piu Eatwell thinks he was involved, even if she doesn’t think he was the actual killer. She thinks Leslie Dillon, a man with known connections to both Short and Hansen, was. Much of Eatwell’s exploration of the case focuses on what happened after the discovery of Short’s corpse and why, in the author’s opinion, the case was never solved. According to the latest historian to try her hand at uncovering the truth to the brutal crime, that elusive truth could have been told long ago if not for the obstruction and cover-ups by a number of Las Angeles police higher-ups who either didn’t want to get into interdepartmental turf wars or didn’t want to upset some gangsters who’d corrupted the LAPD. Like Mark Hansen. Eatwell spends little time reviewing the plethora of other theories and other proposed suspects but instead offers her research into why she’s convinced Leslie Dillon got away with murder. She explores what evidence was ignored, neglected, lost, not presented to the 1949 grand jury, and she discusses why some witnesses were pressured into keeping silent. While the crime is shocking enough on its own, how the criminal justice system operated during that era, at least as described by Piu Eatwell, is equally chilling. Like the views of several police officials who felt the death of a footloose 22 year old just wasn’t worth all the trouble to solve the case. Considering all the current problems we’re having with the U.S. judicial system, Piu Eatwell’s portrait of the events of 1947 and after are sadly much too convincing and believable. Piu Eatwell’s nonfiction book should appeal to readers who like true crime stories but also fans of fictional murder mysteries. The story of the Black Dahlia is still one with sensational elements and Eatwell presents a vivid and gritty world in which Elizabeth Short died. Her book probably isn’t the last word on the subject, but it is one worthy of contemporary interest. This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Oct. 4 at: http://dpli.ir/Nft5Sn

  16. 4 out of 5

    Thelastwordreview

    It is January 15th 1947 and in a park in Los Angeles the shocking discovery of the dismembered body of a dark woman is discovered. She was to become known as The Black Dahlia a notorious murder and the investigation that followed would cost the state millions of dollars. In Black Dahlia, Red Rose author Piu Eatwell tries to uncover what really happened and who killed Elizabeth Short. Over the years there have been many investigations into the Black Dahlia case, but Piu Eatwell uses her past expe It is January 15th 1947 and in a park in Los Angeles the shocking discovery of the dismembered body of a dark woman is discovered. She was to become known as The Black Dahlia a notorious murder and the investigation that followed would cost the state millions of dollars. In Black Dahlia, Red Rose author Piu Eatwell tries to uncover what really happened and who killed Elizabeth Short. Over the years there have been many investigations into the Black Dahlia case, but Piu Eatwell uses her past experience as a lawyer and delves into both FBI and LAPD archives to re-examine the case and the police investigation that followed. A tale of half-truths and corrupt officials. Black Dahlia, Red Rose reads from the start like a crime thriller never mind an investigation and this is great credit to Piu Eatwell author of The Dead Duke, his secret wife and the missing Corpse. The fact that this case dates back to 1947 the difficulties of trying to untangle all the documents and sift through the countless police reports not to mention the press who took a great interest in this case are always going to be difficult. Many suspects were interviewed over the murder of Elizabeth Short but no-one was ever charged for the murder of the 22-year-old woman. So the question is where mistakes made in the investigation or was that leads on the case not taken up and followed, then of course there was suspicions of corruption within the force. There was of course intense speculation from the press as to Elizabeth Short’s lifestyle, was she a dreamer that fell into the Hollywood dream and wanted fame on the silver screen or was she a crazy man hunter. The press and the Hollywood followers came up with many explanations to the life of The Black Dahlia. Many who ended up on the road to Hollywood came off the rails, but looking at her story it evident that Elizabeth Short was a vulnerable young woman living from one day to the next from one cheap hotel to another and thus men came and men went. It is sad to say that it was just a matter of time before she fell in with the wrong type. The underworld that was then in that part of the world is dark and murky and was to be avoided. A world of sex, drugs corruption and more you enter this world and it is difficult to find an exit. Was this the world that The Black Dahlia inhabited? Piu Eatwell writes superbly and although this is a true life crime that she is investigating Eatwell writes like a crime thriller and it reads like and old school crime thriller that has many twists and turns not to mention the shocking details that keep being thrown up. It is a book that anyone who has an interest will have real difficulty in putting this down. It would be so easy to claim to have cracked this case but this is not what this book is about. It about pure investigative instinct in wanting to go through the facts look under every stone even those that were not lifted for whatever reason error or otherwise. Is there a suspect at the end of this, well that is something you will have to discover for yourself? Someone murdered Elizabeth Short and got away with. Even after all these years it is time to separate fact from fiction and try and find the killer of one of the most heinous murders in US history. Black Dahlia, Red Rose is a highly recommended read and one that does not disappoint on any level.

  17. 4 out of 5

    rachel

    I've finally been able to get through all of American Horror Story: Murder House after trying and failing so many times because the show felt too over the top for me in the past. In the proper frame of mind, I really enjoyed it. One aspect of the show that I did not like, however, was Mena Suvari showing up as the Black Dahlia for a bit of alternate history in the murder house. It felt a little exploitative to me until I realized that although I had seen the crime scene photos and knew how she w I've finally been able to get through all of American Horror Story: Murder House after trying and failing so many times because the show felt too over the top for me in the past. In the proper frame of mind, I really enjoyed it. One aspect of the show that I did not like, however, was Mena Suvari showing up as the Black Dahlia for a bit of alternate history in the murder house. It felt a little exploitative to me until I realized that although I had seen the crime scene photos and knew how she was discovered and that her case went unsolved, I didn't know enough about it to say with certainty that she didn't die at the hands of an illegal abortionist in a SoCal mansion. So, I decided to educate myself on the real story of what may have happened to Elizabeth Short. Indeed, the doctor in the mansion does show up; however, the real life case against him is pretty weak. At the heart of Black Dahlia, Red Rose instead is a very convincing argument that the case should have been solved, but the accused killers had connections to and knowledge of ill-doings in the LAPD. As a result, evidence that would have supported the strong circumstantial case was "lost," records were suppressed, and the likely involved parties were set free. The circumstantial case presented here is less an Arthur Leigh Allen/Zodiac series of coincidences, and more like the main suspect knows details of the murder that were withheld from the press, taunts the police about it, alters records within sight of the police, and despite threatening to sue the LAPD for unlawful detention, has the gall to name his daughter Elizabeth. This is as much a book about the Black Dahlia murder as it is a book about the shadiness of the Los Angeles police in the mid-century. Working in the court system, it was interesting to me to learn that interrogation methods like, say, holding a suspect upside down over a bridge to force a confession weren't explicitly illegal in 1940's California. Extortion of gangsters was a second form of income for the police. We've come a long way in the last 70 years. Although I appreciated Eatwell's extensive research for this book, I also found it repetitive and at times outright pedantic. The book is 270 pages not counting the index and notes, yet she has a habit of footnoting incidents that she mentioned in prior chapters as if we might have forgotten what she is talking about. She footnotes the "Babes of Inglewood" child murder case at least FIVE TIMES, and on one occasion, mentions a Hollywood screenwriter, lists his credits, then FOOTNOTES THOSE SAME CREDITS ON THE SAME PAGE. It's funny in a way, but having constant footnotes to check that give no new information really slows the momentum of the reading. Trust in the power of your index, gurl. (Also, there's always Google.)

  18. 4 out of 5

    F.R.

    This is the second Black Dahlia book I’ve read. The first one being the one most people with a passing interest in this case would have come across: James Ellroy’s superb fictional version. Obviously, like all great Ellroy, that’s an over the top and over-ripe version of the story. But reading this true-crime version, it’s amazing how many truths and hints of truths Ellroy slipped into his narrative. If BLACK DAHLIA, RED ROSE is to be believed, the reality also seemed to have an abundance of cor This is the second Black Dahlia book I’ve read. The first one being the one most people with a passing interest in this case would have come across: James Ellroy’s superb fictional version. Obviously, like all great Ellroy, that’s an over the top and over-ripe version of the story. But reading this true-crime version, it’s amazing how many truths and hints of truths Ellroy slipped into his narrative. If BLACK DAHLIA, RED ROSE is to be believed, the reality also seemed to have an abundance of corrupt cops, a conspiracy in high places, and powerful people doing all they could to stop the truth getting out. Okay, this may be only the second book I read, but not long ago I listened to the Hollywood & Crime podcast series on the Black Dahlia and it’s still fresh in my mind. But it’s amazing how much the telling of the tale, the direction its steered in, can change the whole story. The podcast concentrated on the spate of murders of women with dark hair that happened in LA at much the same time. Positing that that the Dahlia killer may have been more prolific than thought. That’s alluded to here, but the book instead goes down another alleyway. Trying to solve the case and pinning the whole thing on a man who, in the Hollywood & Crime version, is dismissed as a red herring. The theory suggested here is an interesting one, and Eatwell does a thorough job of building it all up. But still, I think it maybe stretches credibility too far. It brought to mind Daniel Farson’s comments in the preface to his Jack the Ripper book. That he believed, in some afterlife, all Ripperologists would be brought together and have the true identity of Jack the Ripper revealed them. And each and every one of them would stare blankly as the name struck no bell with them at all. BLACK DAHLIA, RED ROSE is worth a read for anyone interested in the case. It had a great sense of time and place and really manages to evoke the LA of the 1940s. But most importantly, it takes a complex and difficult case – with a vast array of characters – and tells it in a way that’s feels clear and almost straightforward.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John David

    Los Angeles in 1947 was a hard, gritty city filled with people hoping to make a fresh start or to achieve fame and fortune. One of them was Elizabeth Short, a beautiful young woman from Massachusetts who dreamed of becoming a movie star. Ironically but sadly her desire for fame was achieved, but only because of the manner of her death. Her body was discovered one cold January morning, bisected and mutilated. The investigation into her death became a cause celebre. Christened the Black Dahlia mur Los Angeles in 1947 was a hard, gritty city filled with people hoping to make a fresh start or to achieve fame and fortune. One of them was Elizabeth Short, a beautiful young woman from Massachusetts who dreamed of becoming a movie star. Ironically but sadly her desire for fame was achieved, but only because of the manner of her death. Her body was discovered one cold January morning, bisected and mutilated. The investigation into her death became a cause celebre. Christened the Black Dahlia murder by the newspapers, the publicity went on for weeks and periodically resurrected when new possible new evidence or information surfaced. But the mystery of who killed Elizabeth Short and why was never solved. Piu Eatwell's new history of the crime and the investigation makes it clear that the failure to track down and bring Short's murderer to justice was due to widespread corruption within the LA Police Department, which had multiple cozy relationships with organized crime figures. Piu Eatwell's new history of the Black Dahlia case brings the corrupt world of 1947 Los Angeles to life. Elizabeth Short herself, as well as the men with whom she consorted, the police officers and detectives who were in charge of investigating her death, and the newspaper reporters who told the story to the world, are all vividly described. Making use of newly released FBI and local police files, Eatwell provides new material pointing to the likely murderer, and then explains the circumstances through which that murderer evaded the law. Perhaps the most interesting parts of the book are those set in the present, in which Eatwell describes her own visits to some of the scenes of the crime and coverup, and eventually even encounters the daughter of the culprit. Black Dahlia, Red Rose is a film noir tale brought to life, and is even more fascinating than anything Hollywood in the 1940s could have produced, because it's all true.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Several years ago I remember watching the movie The Black Dahlia and being thoroughly confused. I distinctly remember walking out of the theater going what the heck was that? Despite the confusion I was intrigued by the notorious unsolved crime from the 1940's. Enter Black Dahlia, Red Rose where I figured I'd see if I could quell the curiosity once and for all. Upon reading this I think that Piu Eatwell has presented a compelling enough perspective that I'm convinced that this case is solved. Wi Several years ago I remember watching the movie The Black Dahlia and being thoroughly confused. I distinctly remember walking out of the theater going what the heck was that? Despite the confusion I was intrigued by the notorious unsolved crime from the 1940's. Enter Black Dahlia, Red Rose where I figured I'd see if I could quell the curiosity once and for all. Upon reading this I think that Piu Eatwell has presented a compelling enough perspective that I'm convinced that this case is solved. With recently released files from the FBI and meticulous research Eatwell is able to present a strong enough case that to me, Leslie Dillon, without a doubt, murdered Elizabeth Short. The evidence is presented in a logical progression that in my mind makes his guilt undeniable. Throughout the novel she also paints a compelling case that indicates that Mark Hansen was involved enough to warrant the massive amount of corruption that plagued this case. This novel also provided good insight into the LAPD and LA politics in general during the 1940s. It was a stark reminder of how those in power in Hollywood have always had the upper hand and have always been capable of slipping away from accountability in some capacity. My only complaints were slight. For one it was difficult to keep up with the vast cast of characters from time to time. Eatwell does her best to combat this with providing bios of the most important players at the beginning of the novel and bios of anyone else mentioned in the dramatis personae at the rear of the novel. The other complaint was there were a few sections that just seemed rehashed and unnecessary. They helped support Eatwell's point but I felt they had already been discussed in enough depth that later discussion could have been removed. Overall, I felt like this was a good example of a true crime novel that presented a compelling stance that this case has been solved.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kelly

    Admirable scholarship/research effort and a page turner read, to boot. Eatwell's conclusions are far more plausibly proven in this book than they are in other works purporting to present a solution to Elizabeth Short's officially unsolved murder. Would be my recommendation for "the one book to read" on this subject. Mysteries remain, of course, particularly the personality of Short herself and the complete stories of those who played key roles in the original investigation. An abundance of confl Admirable scholarship/research effort and a page turner read, to boot. Eatwell's conclusions are far more plausibly proven in this book than they are in other works purporting to present a solution to Elizabeth Short's officially unsolved murder. Would be my recommendation for "the one book to read" on this subject. Mysteries remain, of course, particularly the personality of Short herself and the complete stories of those who played key roles in the original investigation. An abundance of conflicting interests, self-serving lies, lost/suppressed evidence and outright confusion pervade the Dahlia murder story. To her credit, Eatwell identifies the problems and conflicts and does her best to sort them out. Eatwell looks briefly at other Dahlia books and in a civilized, scholarly fashion debunks their key premises. Folks have objected to the notes at the bottom of many pages. I found them distracting, but worthwhile. Often when reading non-fiction, I have gone back in search of something I wanted to refer to and my searches (without specific page references to refer to) took far more time than it takes to ignore a note on the bottom of the page. Small price to pay in my opinion. Eatwell also provides a feature I enjoy: an update section detailing the ultimate fates of the now mostly long gone participants. The only enduring and immutable "participant" in the story is revealed in the last line of the book and perfectly captures the sordid core of this whole story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    I read lots of true crime books. Lots and lots of true crime books. Yet, this is the first book I've read about an unsolved crime. The Black Dahlia refers to a young woman named Elizabeth Short, whose mutilated body was found in a LA suburb back in the late 1940s. According to Eatwell, rampant police corruption prevented key leads in the case from being thoroughly investigated. After a review of the evidence, some of which has still not been released, Eatwell narrows down the list of suspects to t I read lots of true crime books. Lots and lots of true crime books. Yet, this is the first book I've read about an unsolved crime. The Black Dahlia refers to a young woman named Elizabeth Short, whose mutilated body was found in a LA suburb back in the late 1940s. According to Eatwell, rampant police corruption prevented key leads in the case from being thoroughly investigated. After a review of the evidence, some of which has still not been released, Eatwell narrows down the list of suspects to two men, one who wanted Elizabeth dead, and the other who actually did the killing. This is the stuff of Raymond Chandler novels. By pure coincidence I just finished reading The Red Dahlia, the second installment in the Anna Travis series written by Lynda LaPlante. The book is loosely based on the original murder and repeatedly references another book written about the murder in which the author accuses his father. Borrowed that book from the library and am anxious to read and compare. Finally, I also requested James Ellroy's fictional interpretation aptly titled The Black Dahlia.

  23. 5 out of 5

    John

    Over the years, I've periodically read both non-fiction and fiction on the Black Dahlia case. Like the murders that took place in the 1930s in Cleveland, and to which many believe there is a connection to this case, it remains unsolved and will never be solved. I found that Eatwell's prose style did not flow well, but give her credit for a thorough and exhaustive review of the case. Does her theory on who did it hold up well compared to other theories? I would say yes; though anyone who has prop Over the years, I've periodically read both non-fiction and fiction on the Black Dahlia case. Like the murders that took place in the 1930s in Cleveland, and to which many believe there is a connection to this case, it remains unsolved and will never be solved. I found that Eatwell's prose style did not flow well, but give her credit for a thorough and exhaustive review of the case. Does her theory on who did it hold up well compared to other theories? I would say yes; though anyone who has proposed a theory has never truly found the proverbial smoking gun. In Eatwell's case, she has an accumulation of facts that hold up better than most theories. And the one thing I'll say with regard to her theory of the case: there may have been a reason that the case was unsolved and that reason was because certain people may have wanted it to remain unsolved. When you factor in that aspect, the plausibility of what she proposes increases. For those who have followed the Black Dahlia case, this book should be added to your reading list.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alysa H.

    3.5 stars, rounding up. An extremely well researched book that effectively solves the crime, but more importantly goes a long way towards demystifying a case and a victim that have been unfortunately exoticized over and over in pop culture. Elizabeth Short was a person, a real person just like everybody else, with a troubled life and a terrible death, and it’s a damn shame that corruption and the shoddy practices that passed for real law and order back in post-WWII America not only prevented her 3.5 stars, rounding up. An extremely well researched book that effectively solves the crime, but more importantly goes a long way towards demystifying a case and a victim that have been unfortunately exoticized over and over in pop culture. Elizabeth Short was a person, a real person just like everybody else, with a troubled life and a terrible death, and it’s a damn shame that corruption and the shoddy practices that passed for real law and order back in post-WWII America not only prevented her case from being solved, but only furthered an ongoing tendency in our media to fetishize young white female dead bodies. Eatwell’s writing can be a little bit repetitive, and I am not sure how I feel about the sensational supernatural bit tacked on at the end for effect, but I would recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in the Black Dahlia case or in true crime stories. ** I received a Review Copy of this book via NetGalley **

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barbie

    My first true crime. It was very good.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tom Volz

    I have long bought into the law of parsimony, that the most obvious solution is oftentimes the closest to the truth. This is what I like a lot about this book; the fact that it provides a logical and believable solution to a mystery that has haunted many for seven decades. For this I commend Eatwell, for her suspect, Leslie Dillon is an ideal suspect, a man who fits the exact profile of a man who would commit this type of heinous murder. I suppose people may want something splashier or more sens I have long bought into the law of parsimony, that the most obvious solution is oftentimes the closest to the truth. This is what I like a lot about this book; the fact that it provides a logical and believable solution to a mystery that has haunted many for seven decades. For this I commend Eatwell, for her suspect, Leslie Dillon is an ideal suspect, a man who fits the exact profile of a man who would commit this type of heinous murder. I suppose people may want something splashier or more sensational, to fit this case. They want this to be the case of a flawed but glamorous beauty savagely done in by a brilliant vampiric madman who lusted for the blood of a delicate ingenue. For that reason, people have a hard time accepting the truth, that Miss Short was not a glamorous slain beauty, but a poor girl surviving on her wits alone and far from home, who projected an image of classic beauty and Hollywood glamor to mask her deep sadness and insecurity. For that same reason, the sensationally minded will reject Leslie Dillon as our killer, as the killer must be a brilliant madman, not some seemingly slow-witted Okie pervert. However, the profile of Dillon is exactly what a modern profiler would look for in sexual murderer today, from the string of sadomasochistic paraphilias to the profound desire to get revenge on women for his own sexual shortcomings, combined with a volatile personality that seemed to shift rapidly, an "animal like" nature as one detective described it, and his intimate knowledge of the crime itself all make him the best suspect. Additionally the lead about the Aster Motel as the scene of the crime was very promising as well, and just as interesting as the case against Dillon. Only so many motel rooms turn up covered in blood, especially the same day something like this happened. Although Ellroy once said we will never have the language to describe the bestiality of this crime, I think Shakespeare came closest, for this truly was a murder most foul, strange and unnatural. As such, I also commend Eatwell on handling Elizabeth's life and ghastly death with a degree of delicacy and sensitivity. It is not an easy read for the faint of heart, though at least she has left out the photos of the crime scene and of Elizabeth's body on the slab. I really feel that since that hideous imagery is readily available online (I have availed myself to it, it is also definitely not for the faint of heart) it would only serve to make the book lurid to publish the images. Also, in using actual documents from her life and the investigation, she clears up many of the myths and misconceptions about both. It never ceases to amaze me how much unadulterated BS there is floating around about this case, though in the vacuum of fact caused by the sealing of the case file and the loss of evidence, it probably is inevitable. It is also nice to see another person who has an interest in this case have so much sympathy and sensitivity towards this poor woman. It never ceases to amaze me how many people seem to think she had it coming. As if there was anything that she had done that was so terrible that she deserved death in such a ghastly manner, before being proudly and publicly displayed like a lunatic's proudest achievement. The story of how she, and many other girls who came to California looking to get into pictures lived and were taken advantage of at every turn and how every man she ever met seemed to be an indecent creep made me feel awful for her. It made me understand her state of mind and her melancholia, considering the cheap rooms, the cheap dates, the haunting memory of the only man she ever loved and treated her right, who died shortly before his return to from the war to possibly marry her. I really got the sense that not only did she obviously not deserve this fate, but that she deserved much better than she had. Not everything about this book is as great, though I find the tragedy and the suspect to be both believable and interesting. For starters, although I feel there is a strong circumstantially case against Leslie Dillon, Eatwell's attempts at tying Mark Hansen to the murder and the LAPD are much more speculative. This is not to say I reject them out of hand, only that she failed to proved this aspect of her thesis as conclusively as the other. Hansen for me had no real motive to kill Elizabeth, even with the rejection of his advances factored in. He was a shrewd millionaire who lived in a virtual harem of young wannabe actresses. I have a hard time believing he would throw all that away for a young woman, no matter how infatuated he was with her. The speculation of the robbery racket was just that for me, and even if he was somehow mixed up in this, the timeline of Elizabeth's comings and goings is so unclear, that there is no proof that she saw or heard something she shouldn't have been privy to. Frankly, Hansen seemed to be little more than a lech, an exceptionally wealthy one with some connections, but little more. The same problem also applies her theory about the LAPD coverup. I do believe this part about the LAPD more than the Hansen part, especially given the extent of corruption in LAPD at that time, but likewise, it is little more than speculation. Frankly, the connection between the corrupt Finis Brown and his elder brother Thad, a man on the verge of becoming chief of police. It is not unbelievable that if Finis tanked the investigation for some reason, either a bribe or to cover up his own corruption in other cases, it could have been used as ammunition against his brother by Parker's people and that the elder Brown brother used his clout as chief of detectives to order a complete shutdown and coverup to save his own prospects at being police chief. This is speculative, but still believable, more believable than the involvement of Hansen in my opinion. Lastly, and this has been hit on in countless other reviews, but the system of footnoting and occasional lampshading toward future chapters was a bit counterintuitive and disjointed. It did nothing to hinder my reading significantly, but it was certainly an occasional annoyance. To conclude, I commend Eatwell on a well written book that from my vantage point the closest to truth. There is a temptation to make this case something it is not, for like Poe said, "the death of a beautiful woman is the most poetical topic in the world." However, it is commendable to go back to the original files, or however many of them are either extant or declassified and dig out the truth. Especially since enough very creative, lurid and poetic fiction has been written about her death, and for someone like me, I want to know who did this so I could begin to guess as to why, for this is an act so profoundly depraved and extreme that it beggars explanation, even by the supposed logic of extreme and violent sexual sadists. The level of mutilation, dismemberment and destruction inflicted upon her, most of it postmortem, is something that is stunningly awful, and makes me glad I've only ever seen it in black and white. The horror of a color image would render me an insomniac for a week or more. A part of me always wondered what might have been for this poor woman, if only her fiancé had survived the war or if only she had run into a decent man who viewed as more than an easy lay or a tease. Her photographs would be known only to her grandchildren or great-grandchildren, she might even be alive today, living out her twilight years regaling her youngest descendants about her adventures as young lady in Hollywood during that supposedly magical time. It may seem strange, but these thoughts entered my head on occasion, because as I said before, she deserved so much better than this. To me, the key to this case is separating the corpse named Dahlia from the woman named Elizabeth. The corpse has all the myth attached to it and all of lurid legend and morbid "glamor," if one can call it that. The tragedy of this poor woman, her rough life and hideous death is for me far more compelling than any of the ridiculous rumors one hears looking into this case. For anyone interesting in this particular case or true crime in general, I would recommend this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    In 1947 a murder happened in Los Angeles. The bisected body of a young woman (identified subsequently as 22-year-old Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia) was found in Leimert Park. Although some on the case believed they identified the killer, they would go unpunished due to what seemed to be either a far-reaching cover-up or some of the worst investigating ever. Instead the victim herself would be scrutinised for her choices in life. As this is the first book I have read about the Black Dahlia In 1947 a murder happened in Los Angeles. The bisected body of a young woman (identified subsequently as 22-year-old Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia) was found in Leimert Park. Although some on the case believed they identified the killer, they would go unpunished due to what seemed to be either a far-reaching cover-up or some of the worst investigating ever. Instead the victim herself would be scrutinised for her choices in life. As this is the first book I have read about the Black Dahlia murder, I don't have anything to judge it against, but I thought the author makes a compelling case for the person/people she thinks were guilty. The litany of misplaced evidence and the fact that so much of the case files are still under wraps is shocking, but sadly not surprising. The author has obviously done a lot of research, the book has a lot of footnotes, and sometimes the writing comes across as a little dry in places. Overall though, it was an interesting read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn Hogan

    I received a digital ARC of this book from Edelweiss. The Black Dahlia murder case is something of a paradox. It's one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history, but the real story has been heavily obscured by numerous poorly researched accounts, personal vendettas, and the fact that the files are still considered classified by the LAPD. All of which is to say that Piu Eatwell's account Black Dahlia, Red Rose is fascinating and refreshing. Ms. Eatwell goes back to first principals o I received a digital ARC of this book from Edelweiss. The Black Dahlia murder case is something of a paradox. It's one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history, but the real story has been heavily obscured by numerous poorly researched accounts, personal vendettas, and the fact that the files are still considered classified by the LAPD. All of which is to say that Piu Eatwell's account Black Dahlia, Red Rose is fascinating and refreshing. Ms. Eatwell goes back to first principals of the case, and tracks down as many people who had a connection with the murder and Elizabeth Short herself. Now, obviously most of those people are dead, but many left written accounts, or gave interviews before they died. Eatwell also gets unprecedented access to the case files, and sources the hell out of her work (which I think is extremely important for writers of this kind of cold case true crime. I trust writers who show their work so much more than those who rely on unprovable assertions.) The writer fits these pieces into a complex, disturbing puzzle that convincingly point the finger at the Black Dahlia killer. Highly recommended for fans of true crime or anyone interested in the Black Dahlia case. (view spoiler)[ Let me rant about one thing: At one point, Eatwell speaks to a woman whose mother worked at the hotel where Elizabeth Short was probably killed. The hotel room and all of the bed linens were soaked, absolutely drenched in blood. This woman's mother cleaned it up, but when she later realized it was a murder scene, she was distraught because "she had destroyed evidence." Well, where the hell did she think all of the blood came from?! There's no innocent explanation for a hotel room to be absolutely soaked in blood. You see that, you call the damn police. There's your PSA for the day. Rant over. (hide spoiler)]

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    The story of the murder of a 22 year old girl, whose dissected body was found in the grass beside a sidewalk in a Los Angeles suburb on January 15, 1947. Very well researched and had a lot of great information, much more then other sources have had in the past. Very well written. The story was very captivating even after 70 years have passed. Gives you a lot to think about, not just this murder, but the way crimes were handled back in the 40's. So much evidence pointed to what really happened an The story of the murder of a 22 year old girl, whose dissected body was found in the grass beside a sidewalk in a Los Angeles suburb on January 15, 1947. Very well researched and had a lot of great information, much more then other sources have had in the past. Very well written. The story was very captivating even after 70 years have passed. Gives you a lot to think about, not just this murder, but the way crimes were handled back in the 40's. So much evidence pointed to what really happened and it makes you pretty sick to see just how messed up and corrupt the justice system was during this trial. A pretty clear case of money talks and who owes who favors. Pretty terrible. Part 3- Raw Deal, is particularly hard to read. This section focuses the most on the covering up and sweeping things under the rug. It is pretty infuriating that the people who committed the crime(s) were just let go. Excellent book. I would highly recommend it. My only complaint is that I wish the author had included more photos of some of the people and or places she talked about. It would have been nice to have some faces to go along with some of the characters that were mentioned a lot.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Clarke

    This is a fascinating, meticulous and heartfelt retelling of the 70 year old (and officially unsolved) Black Dahlia murder case, packed with great detail about both the investigation and the state of Los Angeles and the USA at the time. It’s sensitively handled and packed with a rich cast of characters that the author seems to have really taken the time to get to know. The victim, Elizabeth Short, remains a cipher, but the personalities of those caught up in the aftermath of her death are richly This is a fascinating, meticulous and heartfelt retelling of the 70 year old (and officially unsolved) Black Dahlia murder case, packed with great detail about both the investigation and the state of Los Angeles and the USA at the time. It’s sensitively handled and packed with a rich cast of characters that the author seems to have really taken the time to get to know. The victim, Elizabeth Short, remains a cipher, but the personalities of those caught up in the aftermath of her death are richly and memorable described. The author comes to her own conclusion about the perpetrator, and it was in the final few chapters where the narrative switches to her present day investigations, that the book most came alive for me. I’ve not read much true crime, but what struck me most about this book was the emphasis on the people rather that the crime. It’s never titillating or ghoulish (as I, perhaps wrongly, imagine much true crime writing is) but rather a suitably somber analysis of a tragic and brutal death. .

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