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The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock's Shower

by
2.47  ·  Rating Details ·  190 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
The New York Times bestselling author who investigated the Zodiac case now uncovers a real-life mystery of murder, body doubles, and obsession

Marli Renfro was a model who played a part in one of the most iconic scenes in American movies- as Janet Leigh's nude body double in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho-only to fade into obscurity, a footnote in Hollywood history. It wasn'
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Hardcover, 307 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Berkley Hardcover
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(showing 1-30 of 449)
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Carla
Jul 05, 2011 Carla rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Graysmith does not understand his subject, a woman with whom he's admittedly been "obsessed" for decades. Let me list the ways:

1. He states Marli Renfro is modest. -->
On nude shoots, she always does long, limbering exercises in the nude in front of cast and crew. She is a nudist who enjoys being watched.

2. He states Renfro is in no way pretentious or vain. -->
On the Psycho shoot, she once got dressed in some of her most expensive clothing and lingered for thirty minutes in the show
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Joshua
May 07, 2010 Joshua rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Spoilers follow.

Talk about a pointless book with a completely deceptive cover--this is it. The cover makes it seem like it is about the murder of the body double for Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO by a Los Angeles serial killer. So, it follows the woman's career as a pin-up model/nudist in exhaustive, stretch out the story as much as possible to make it seem longer--this means repeating moments over and over and it follows the serial killer in similar fashion. Then the guy is caught A
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Kristen Hale
Feb 06, 2013 Kristen Hale rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
I feel like the author got a book deal for this subject and then panicked when he realized there basically was no story. So he put together two parallel stories (which end up having nothing to do with each other) and filled in the blanks with a bunch of interesting Hollywood tidbits. And then created a deceiving cover and synopsis to lure readers in. I gave it three stars instead of one because I'm a film nerd who enjoyed the Hitchcock trivia. But this book basically only made me want to go out ...more
Alicia
Jul 23, 2012 Alicia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The historical events written about in this book were quite accurate - you can tell the author took time to research. However, I felt the author could have described women's bodies a little less and focused more on the actual story of the serial killer. There were a lot of part that the author could have removed completely and it wouldn't have taken away from the story itself.
Sara
Jan 01, 2011 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
Not what I was expecting at all. The cover copy and inside flap portray the book as a true crime story; instead it's a mish-mosh of unrelated stories and pages of endless anecdotes that have little or nothing to do with Psycho or murder.
Belinda Palamara
The Author's attempt to weave together several different storylines does not really work.

This book is great for readers who love descriptions of nipples.
Victoria
Jun 07, 2011 Victoria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike
Nov 06, 2012 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A big disappointment. The only real mystery is why the author is trying so desperately hard to create one where none exists. He basically tries to splice together two stories that are only vaguely related to create a larger story full of mystery and intrigue... and the result is less than satisfying.


Another thing that didn't really work for me was the way the author inserted himself in the story. Some authors can really make this kind of thing work to expound on the basic story and make it come
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Stephanie
Robert Graysmith's books on the Black Dahlia case gave me hope that this book would be as riveting, but not so. His descriptions of the late 1950's and early 1960's read like a B movie script, lots of hyperbole but the true, living sense of the period never arose from the morass of words.

It's really too bad, the situation itself has so much possibility and the characters have the potential to be fascinating, but I think the author was too close to this case and so had lost the ability to edit. A
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Shellie Zeigler
Jul 10, 2011 Shellie Zeigler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Avoid at all costs....there really is no story here. Others then some tidbits about the short shower scene in Psycho and Janet Leigh's double. Move on ladies & gentlemen, nothing to see here.
Jason
Sep 23, 2016 Jason rated it liked it
This could have been a great biography of Marli Renfro-The body in the shower in Psycho; unfortunately it turned into a bit of a convoluted meandering look at Los Angeles and the deserts of Nevada in 1960 with bio thrown in. Marlins story is fascinating one: a Playboy covergirl and Bunny; her stint in Psycho, a nudist, an avid fisherman (fisher person?), intelligence and natural curiosity to boot. Yet instead of focusing on her, we took side trips through Caryl Chessman's execution as a segue to ...more
Lady♥Belleza★✰
In 1988, Marli Renfro - Janet Leigh's body double in 'Psycho' - was raped and murdered by a serial killer with a fetish for the classic Hitchcock shocker. But as Robert Graysmith investigated Marli's story, a nagging doubt entered his mind. What if Marli was still alive?

If you ever saw 'Psycho' you will remember the shower scene. If you never saw it, you likely have heard of it. Robert Graysmith refers to it as 'the most harrowing forty-five seconds of footage in cinema history'. He may be right
...more
Lee Anne
May 02, 2010 Lee Anne rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff
Oct 02, 2010 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Doug Beatty
Feb 12, 2010 Doug Beatty rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
I just finished this one, and although it was interesting, I think it was marketed the wrong way.

If you read the dust jacket, it seems like you are going to get a true crime novel, involving the girl who was the body double in the movie Psycho, standing in for Janet Leigh in the nude shower scene. And you do get a bit of a true crime story in the tale of Sonny Busch and his mother who live close to the Psycho film set, and Psycho does set Sonny off on a bit of a killing spree but he never really
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Suspense Magazine
Apr 24, 2010 Suspense Magazine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
New York Times bestselling author, Robert Graysmith, best known for his books on the Zodiac killer and Jack the Ripper, takes on the mystery of Janet Leigh's body double from Psycho. In 1960, Marli Renfro appeared as the body double in the famous shower scene. It wasn't until 1988 that she received her most notoriety when she was found to be brutally raped and murdered by a serial killer. But was she really? Graysmith, who has been obsessed with Renfro for the past forty years, attempts to portr ...more
Karen Sweeney
This book could have been a great true crime thriller and an interesting insider account of the making of Psycho. Sadly, it was neither. The subject is someone who had marginal encounters in the film industry and the "men's magazine" industry. Her stories are boring and she has nothing important to say about her life. The author was/is clearly infatuated with her but whatever her charms may be, they do no translate to the page. The true crime story was the more compelling but was given short shr ...more
Aita Gilley
Jun 15, 2013 Aita Gilley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a mess! This book could have been 3 or even 4 different Vanity Fair articles versus a rambling mess. As a Hitchcock fan and a crime fiction fan, I was totally disappointed by this book. It should have just been a novella (small but concise). The whole mob connection did not make sense. The only thing that I happened to enjoy was all the little bits of random trivia ( i.e. Michael Douglas was on set as prodution assistant & F.F.C. did nudie cuties & all the Hefner stuff.) Thank God I ...more
Kay
May 22, 2015 Kay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is bloody awful, the author is obsessed with tits that it!
Judy
Oct 09, 2012 Judy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The dust jacket lead me to believe that it was about the murder of the woman who was Janet Leigh's body double for the movie Psycho. But no... This book intertwined a long drawn out biography of Marli Renfro, a nudist and the object of the author's obsession, with the story of Sonny Busch a loner mother-obsessed serial killer. Except for the fact that Marli and Sonny both appear in this book there is no connection between the two. This book is not a good example of Graysmith's work. Very disappo ...more
Erica
Jul 02, 2012 Erica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, what an irritating book. Not poorly written, but completely misleading! It's a biography of Marli Renfro, which is fine, except that it has basically nothing to do with murder whatsoever. There's a "parallel" story about some guy who was seemingly inspired by Psycho to murder, and at the very end of the book these stories align for 1 paragraph.
A vaguely interesting biography, but I kept reading thinking "what the hell is the point?"
Jobetta
Very disappointing. The description on the book jacket led me to believe the outcome would be very different. He has two distinct stories that he is attempting to tell and I kept reading, waiting for the connection, but never did understand what the two had to do with one another, aside from a lose connection to the film "Psycho." I DID learn a lot of interesting things about the making of the movie.
Mary
Jun 23, 2013 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a very reluctant two stars. The subject matter is fascinating and there are all kinds of Psycho inside tidbits but the parallel stories are frenetic and all over the place. Hitchcock fans need to read it. No doubt. But take your Dramamine first because this slow herky jerky ride could make you seasick.
Tony
Sep 19, 2012 Tony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was nowhere near as good as I thought it was going to be. Much of the time was spent describing the history and making of "nudie" films, and the shape of womens breasts and nipples. The supposed twist was a total let-down, in the final 5 pages or so.
Erin
Jun 07, 2016 Erin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How on earth did this guy get published? I bought this book at a library sale and I can see why it was a discard. The author continuously contradicts himself, projects his own thoughts on what people think/believe and turned what seemed like an interesting premise into a bore fest. Also, while he keeps describing Marli as beautiful, those around her simply described her as naked. There is a difference. While it may be hard for modern people with our obesity epidemic to fathom, in the very near p ...more
charlie
May 24, 2012 charlie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nope. Some interesting stories interwoven - but they all just don't add up... Tho glad that those stories are now rolling around in my head - didn't enjoy getting there.
Mary Dickey
There was lots of interesting stuff here about the making of "Psycho" but all in all, it was a let down. The more I read, the more disappointed I was.
A.J.
Apr 18, 2012 A.J. rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting trivia and anecdotes for the cinema buffs, but I feel, as a general rule, that true crime shouldn't really have twist endings or head fakes.
Krista
Jan 20, 2015 Krista rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading the reviews about this book on GoodReads, I wasn't sure I wanted to bother. But I'm interested in Hitchcock and that era in film, so I decided to give it a shot. In the end, I enjoyed it. It's definitely not a true crime book as billed, though there are elements of that. This is more a love letter to Marli Renfro, who the author was besotted with as a young man, and a history of nudie cuties and figure models of that era. If you're looking for neat tidbits on the birth of Las Vegas ...more
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Robert Graysmith was born in Pensacola, Florida as Robert Gray Smith. He changed his name to Graysmith in 1976.

Graysmith is a true-crime author of the books Zodiac; Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer; Unabomber: A Desire to Kill; The Sleeping Lady: The Trailside Murders Above the Golden Gate; The Murder of Bob Crane: Who Killed the Star of Hogan's Heroes; The Bel
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