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The Red Dahlia (Anna Travis #2)

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,215 Ratings  ·  176 Reviews
When the body of a young girl is found dumped on the banks of the Thames, even the police are shocked by the brutality of her murder: horifically mutilated, severed in half and drained of blood, her death is a mirror image of an infamous 1940s case in Los Angeles known as 'The Black Dahlia'.

That case was never solved, but now Detective Inspector Anna Travis must race again
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 3rd 2007 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group (first published 2006)
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Marian Jones it was very good, I read it in two days. I can't wait to read the rest of this series.
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Sep 28, 2008 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Danny Fowler, a paperboy, was winding up his route and heading home from breakfast when he spotted what appeared to be a blow-up doll on the bank of the river. What Danny found wasn’t a blow-up doll and he no longer had an appetite for breakfast. His discovery began the investigation into a death that became known as The Red Dahlia murder.

Detective Inspector Anna Travis is a part of the investigation team and soon Detective Chief Inspector James Langton is called in to head up the investigation.
A. S.
Aug 21, 2009 A. S. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had the potential to be interesting, at least in the first 150 pages or so. I was attracted to the grim descriptions of the autopsy reports and at first, the cops' diligence in tracking the killer as well as the copy-cat description of the crime scene with that of the Black Dahlia murder in the 1940s. After the name of the killer gets revealed, the book goes downhill, and the only thing I looked forward to were the one or two lines dedicated to describing what Anna Travis ate for dinne ...more
Jann Barber
Jan 13, 2012 Jann Barber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in Lynda La Plante's Anna Travis series is another well-written book. Prior to reading this, I had already watched the BBC episodes. As with "Above Suspicion," the BBC version was faithful to the book. There were extra bits that added to the experience of reading the book, but I was pleased at the way the author's intent was preserved when bringing the story to television.

The books do focus more attention on the relationship, or whatever it might be, that exists between Travis an
Aug 20, 2010 Gerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young girl's body is found dismembered close by the Thames at Richmond and the killing mirrored an unsolved 1940s Los Angeles murder that came to be known as The Black Dahlia.

The similarities in the killing and the fact that the young lady by the Thames had a red flower in her hair earned this new case the sobriquet of 'The Red Dahlia'.

Newly promoted Detective Inspector Anna Travis is on the case but she meets with little success and eventually is joined by a former paramour, Detective Chief I
Nancy Oakes
Feb 13, 2010 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction-uk
The Red Dahlia is second in a series to feature DI Anna Travis, behind Above Suspicion, which I own but haven't yet read, although I don't think I missed anything. This was an outstanding mystery novel...perfect pace, building suspense throughout, characters that seemed real, and a story that kept me reading until I finished the book.

While out delivering the last of his newspapers, a young boy makes a gruesome discovery. The police arrive and discover the body of a young woman, severed in half,
Alan Annand
Oct 13, 2012 Alan Annand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For years I was a big fan of the British police procedural TV series PRIME SUSPECT (starring Helen Mirren) created by author Lynda LaPlante. This was the first novel I'd read by LaPlante, and I was not disappointed. The plot involves the murder and grisly dismemberment of two British working girls, in a manner that immediately suggests a copycat killing of the infamous Red Dahlia murders in 1947 California. The focal detective Anna Travis and her boss Peter Langton, overcoming some awkwardness d ...more
Ineke van Mackelenbergh
My first attempt at a book by Lynda La Plante. The story had all the makings of being an excellent thriller and suspenseful, but to my mind because it is so very detailed became a little long in the tooth, and I came away disappointed. Excellent descriptions of all relevant characters although the "love story" in the 'background' added nothing to the overall story, and I found much of it contrived.
May 11, 2009 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes TV police dramas
Recommended to Donna by: free book with a magazine
Shelves: 2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Roberts
May 19, 2014 David Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate B
Apr 28, 2015 Kate B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The edition I read needed a decent proof-reader - it wasn't a proof-copy freebie from the publisher, it was already in its second edition. I wondered if this is what happens once the publishers have an established author? "Meh, people will buy it anyway."
Anna's name changed to Annie on one page; and the poor flustered woman appeared incapable of simple arithmetic. She made a list of four people to interview: two men and a woman from one place, and two men from another. Hmmm. With that level of c
Oct 10, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the longest murder mysteries that I've read in recent history and I had a bit of a tough time getting into it at the beginning, due to the inclusion of trivial details that made me think "Please let this book get better." However, as someone who was interested in the real-life Black Dahlia mystery, I figured I'd give the book a fair shot. It took me at least 100 pages to get into the story, but then I was hooked. Even after the killer's name is revealed with over 100 pages left i ...more
Sridhar Babu
Jul 18, 2015 Sridhar Babu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anna Travis, James Langton, Charles Wickenham, Edward Wickenham, Justine, Emily, Lewis, Louise Pennel,Sharon Bilkin, Mrs.Hedges.
A young girl's mutilated body (Louise Pennel)found on the banks of river Thames. Not only mutilated but drained out of blood. This murder is mentioned as "Red Dahlia" not only from the flower, the victim wore in her hair, also because of the mirror image of an unsolved ho
Mary Kay
Nov 03, 2008 Mary Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lynda La Plante is the author of the Prime Suspect series, & this is just as gritty as those books. Someone is copycatting the Black Dahlia murder in LA back in the 1940s. Only this is London in the present day. You need a strong stomach to read THE RED DAHLIA.
Val Sanford
The infamous Black Dahlia murders are repeated in this London murder mystery. The victims, the letters, the staggering evidence that this killer is mirroring the Los Angeles killings from the 1940s. The murders are gruesome and unbelievably sadistic; brutal mutilations and torture inflicted before death make this case so hard to bear. Weeks into the case and they have no leads, no evidence and no patience. Anna Travis is paired once more with James Langdon. She's been promoted and he's drinking ...more
Lesley Dawson
Apr 14, 2014 Lesley Dawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down - Anna Travis together with James Langton & the Murder Team keep you engaged throughout - a 10......

Jul 12, 2014 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery, crime fans
Karin Slaughter's blurb on the cover says: 'Without a doubt one of the best writers working today' This book is a slow read. But you will enjoy every page. I suppose if you had any interest in the true story of the Black Dahlia -a young woman murdered in 1947 California, this fictional copy-cat murder in London may have made the book read faster. La Plante has used the two main characters in an earlier book. There are hints about their history but I found them annoying. Again the book would have ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michele Davis
May 24, 2014 Michele Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first Lynda La Plante I've read. I'm lining another up right away! I couldn't put it down!
A couple of things bothered me though, her use of 'wafted' about 5 times, my understanding of wafted is as' her scent wafted pasti me'
or the smell of apple pie cooking wafted through the house'
Not as she uses it meaning , he wafted his hand to signal she could leave , !!
never seen it used like that, and by the 5th time it was grating on me!
Also *Spoiler Alert* it was obvious to me that Charles had
Tyson Adams
Feb 28, 2011 Tyson Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Usually when I finish reading a Crime Thriller the last thing I want to do is read another Crime book. It's not like I don't enjoy the genre, in fact if anything it is amongst my favourite genres, it is more about how draining they usually are. Nothing is more draining than hunting down a serial killer.

Surprisingly Lynda La Plante hasn't left me feeling drained. In fact I felt inspired to read another Crime genre novel. I think that says a lot about how skilled La Plante is as an crime writer. R
Apr 01, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of police procedurals, thrillers, and mysteries.
When DI Anna Travis is called out to the discovery of a young woman's body, she has no idea the horrors that she will discover. The young woman's body has been severed in half, drained of blood, and gruesomely mutilated. It isn't until after the killer makes contact with a local journalist that the murder team realizes that the murder is a carbon copy of that of the Black Dahlia murder in 1940s Los Angeles. Not only is DI Travis attempting to catch a sadistic killer who likes to play games with ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, united-kingdom
When the body of a young woman is found on the banks of the River Thames, the injuries turn out to have an unsettling similarity to the unsolved, 1930's Los Angeles case of Elizabeth Short - known as The Black Dahlia.

Detective Inspector Anna Travis is on the team investigating this horrible crime when Detective Chief Inspector James Langton is called in to take over from the original team leader. They have a prior working and private history and Travis is very hesitant and discomforted by the cl
Jonathan Peto
I would probably give this book 3.5 stars if I could.

The main character, Anna Travis, was a bit needy, which was interesting and surprising, considering her job as a homicide detective. Anna was also clever, something she proved a few times when the investigation stalled.

She had had a short relationship with Detective Chief Inspector James Langston, who ends up heading the murder investigation the novel focuses on. That doesn't get in the way, but it does add some spice to the story, especially
Jul 24, 2013 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent British police procedural. The main character is Detective Inspector Anna Travis. The story opens as a paperboy discovers the body of a young woman in a field along his route. Even the police are appalled at what had been done to her. It is almost an exact duplicate of the famous Black Dahlia case from 1940s Los Angeles. There the murder of Elizabeth Short was never caught. To make matters worse, there is almost no evidence. No fingerprints, no murder weapon, no DNA, and no ...more
Morenike Alli
Another good book from the author Lynda La Plante. This is the second book in the series. It follows on from the first book Above Suspicion, about a Detective Anna Travis who works closely with the lead investigator DCI Langdon. Both books focuses on different cases but the relationship between the two Detectives is ongoing.
In some places i did feel that the author gave too much information but in general it was a good reading. I'm looking forward to read the 3rd book in this series.
May 20, 2009 Eric_W rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lynda La Plante can be quite uneven. Her Sleeping Cruelty strained credulity; Bella Mafia was unfinishable. Her forte, I believe is her police procedural series Trial and Retribution and the Anne Travis series, of which Red Dahlia is one, are much better. Her view of the British upper crust is not pleasant. They are cruel, insensitive, brutal, and perverted. It would be interesting to know if this attitude stems from personal experience. Note there is a connection to Ellroy's The Black Dahlia - ...more
Aug 27, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very dark story. While part of it started to become tiresome and seemed drawn out, it kind of fit with what was happening in the story- days would go on with no leads, nothing new, spinning wheels. I had figured where she was going with the ending but it was good that we weren't left hanging. I'm not sure how I feel about the relationship between Anna and Langton- he seems like he would be a hard man to tolerate, but I'm curious to see where it goes next.
Aug 07, 2014 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy La Plante's writing, but I agree with a few other reviewers who said this story needed some editing. Parts got a bit long, and there were small details in Anna's life that we just didn't need to know. Overall, I enjoyed the story, though - even with its gruesome details. I would have moved along the ending a bit, because once we knew who the killer was, it seemed to take an awful long time to resolve the story once and for all.
Mar 09, 2013 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Linda La Plante gets gruesome in her account of a serial killer who copies a well documented case from Los Angeles from decades ago. There are three set pieces (discovery of the body, autopsy, story breaks in the tabloids) which La Plante uses to describe, underline and detail the outrages committed by the killer on his first victim before her death and the mutilations of her corpse afterwards. Subsequent murders are not as sanguine but still incarnadine enough for anyone outside an abattoir.

I only read this because it was recommended because of another book.

Anyhow, slow pace, took forever to get a clue , and it was boring that the police couldn't find a clue to the killer and then were tipped off by anonymous caller.

I hadn't read first one, but these police officers seem a bit 2 dimensional. No incredible insights, just a lot of slogging along.

Kept wanting it to get better.
Jan 30, 2015 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always enjoy a good crime yarn and this kept my interest all the way through. Although you know fairly early who the guilty party is the problem will always be to prove it when he is so evil that nobody dares to speak against him for fear of there own lives. The detectives were relentless in there desire to hunt him down. Often frustrated and battling problems of there own they never gave up.
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how to read it 1 7 Feb 11, 2015 11:18PM  
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Lynda La Plante (born Lynda Titchmarsh) is a British author, screenwriter, and erstwhile actress (her performances in Rentaghost and other programmes were under her stage name of Lynda Marchal), best known for writing the Prime Suspect television crime series.

Her first TV series as a scriptwriter was the six part robbery series Widows, in 1983, in which the widows of four armed robbers carry out a
More about Lynda La Plante...

Other Books in the Series

Anna Travis (9 books)
  • Above Suspicion (Anna Travis #1)
  • Clean Cut (Anna Travis, #3)
  • Deadly Intent (Anna Travis, #4)
  • Silent Scream (Anna Travis, #5)
  • Blind Fury (Anna Travis, #6)
  • Blood Line (Anna Travis, #7)
  • Backlash (Anna Travis, #8)
  • Wrongful Death (Anna Travis, #9)

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