Los Angeles, 15th January 1947. A beautiful young woman walks into the night and meets a horrific destiny.
Five days later, her tortured body is found drained of blood and cut in half. The newspapers call her 'The Black Dahlia'. For two cops, what begins as an investigation becomes a hellish journey that takes them to the core of the dead girl's twisted life.
And soon professional curiosity spirals into obsession...
'A mesmerising study of the psycho-sexual obsession... extraordinarily well written' - The Times
'The outstanding crime writer of his generation' - The Independent
'A wonderful tale of ambition, insanity, passion and deceit' - Publishers Weekly
Based on a notorious, unsolved Los Angeles murder case, the central drama of this hard-boiled mysteryset in the late 1940sbegins when the body of Elizabeth Short, an engagingly beautiful and promiscuous woman in her 20s, is discovered in a vacant lot, cut in half, disemboweled and bearing evidence that she had been tortured for several days before dying. Dubbed "The Black Dahlia'' by the press, the victim becomes an obsession for two L.A.P.D. cops, narrator Bucky Bleichert and his partner, Lee Blanchard, both ex-boxers who also are best friends and in love with the same woman. Despite a huge effort by the department, leads seem to go nowhere, and Bucky is mortified when he inadvertently helps to suppress evidencethe apparently innocuous fact that a woman he spends many nights with, casually bisexual Madeleine Sprague, daughter of a crooked real-estate tycoon, knew ``the Dahlia'' and slept with her once. Bucky begins to fear for his future, but slowly and dangerously, he learns that his is one of the tamest crimes of corruption committed by the many people he knows. Building like a symphony, this is a wonderful, complicated but accessible tale of ambition, insanity, passion and deceit, with the perfect settingof booming, postwar Los Angeles.
An absolutely harrowing book that takes liberties with some of the facts and characters of a real life murder in 1940s Los Angeles, written by an author whose own mother was also murdered by an unknown attacker. Some of the imagery invoked is sickening, but this is excellent crime fiction nonetheless.