The Black Dahlia murder case remains a brutal unsolved mystery murder case. Committed by someone familiar with surgical techniques, the murder of twenThe 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. ...more
Gideon Emery, the narrator, is amazing - seriously he could make reading the ingredients off a cereal box sexy. He is also pretty much the only reasonGideon Emery, the narrator, is amazing - seriously he could make reading the ingredients off a cereal box sexy. He is also pretty much the only reason why I finished listening to this book. I totally picked up this audiobook because it was the most interesting one he had narrated from the list of books I'd found and I loved his voice as Fenris in the "Dragon Age 2" videogame. It dragged REALLY bad through the middle and end. I think my biggest problem with it was A. I couldn't quite decide what the story was really about until the end and B. instead of just ending the story, the author kept dragging things out. I mean the book is set over a two year period, there's only so much time you can elongate something before it loses its meaning/interest entirely.
The story is about an operation led by MI-6, which in 1918, was part of Navy Intelligence. It was led by a man named Cummings who secured Augustus "Gus" Agar to go to Kronstadt base on an island north of St. Petersburg, Russia (recently changed to Petrograd because of the Bolshevik uprising) and rescue a deep undercover spy known as ST-26 (aka Paul Dukes, former pianist, The Man with a Hundred Faces). They used boats called CMBs (Coastal Motor Boats), which were powerful and fast, but easily destroyed and loud. To see an example check out this page from the Imperial War Museum in Duxford (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/ite...), which also explains the story. They are way smaller than I originally thought they were given the descriptions in the book. As described in the link, Agar was responsible for sinking the Russian dreadnought Oleg in Kronstadt harbor in 1919. I can't believe that Paul Dukes managed to survive as long as he did, especially against the Cheka (basically the secret police who would eventually become the KGB). I would be interested to read his own personal account of his time as an agent. That part of the story was fascinating. 3 stars....more