LIGHT THROWN ON THE MYSTERY OF BLACK DAHLIA
Childhood Shadows: The Hidden Story of the Black Dahlia Murder by Mary Pacios, (5x8 softcover)
1st Books Library,2511 W. Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47404, USA. Telephone: 812-339-6000, Fax: 812-339-6554; 292 pages: ISBN 1-58500-484-7. Publication Date 2000: Price, $11.95 (Free Shipping!).
One of the most sensational murders of the previous century - and one that has still not been solved - is the murder of the Black Dahlia. Well, Black Dahlia was not the victim's true name. Her name was Elizabeth Short, but she was known as Black Dahlia, because of her penchant for the black color. She had jet black hair, and had a preference for wearing black clothes.
Her badly mutilated completely nude body was found on a plot of waste ground near Los Angeles on 15 January 1947. The English letters "BD" had been cut into the flesh of her thigh. So badly was the body mutilated, that she had to be identified from her fingerprints. Black Dahlia, when she was murdered, was in the prime of her youth; just 22 years of age. She was an aspiring film star, and had generated many enemies in her quest for stardom.
Her rise to dubious fame is a story of violence, intrigue and treachery. She planned to marry a serviceman, but he was killed. Broken by this bereavement, she took to drinking. Her problems were compounded when the next man she intended to marry was also killed. At this point in time, she moved to Hollywood, and started working as extra. It was also at this time that she got the epithet of Black Dahlia. But she could not get any respectable status in Hollywood. She remained a lowly extra; people used her; she led a life of promiscuity, and it was this shady life which ultimately led to her sad demise at such an early age.
Her death brought a spate of false confessions from several people. This "reverse" trend was presumably because of people wanting to spring to limelight being associated with such a lovely albeit shady character. A note was sent to a Los Angeles newspaper which was prepared from the letters cut out of a newspaper. It read," Here are Dahlia's belongings. Letter to follow." To make it more authentic, included were Short's birth certificate, address book and several other belongings. From her address book, one page was torn, and investigators believed it was this page which could contain the name and address of Short's murderer. But nothing came out of that lead.
Several other confessions followed, but all petered out eventually. Black Dahlia case remains unsolved to this date, just like the Jack the Ripper's case. Numerous books and movies have been made of that story, and they always capture the public attention. There are numerous internet sites, solely devoted to the murder and investigation of the Black Dahlia's case.
The book under review is just one other book on Black Dahlia's murder mystery. But it is a book with a difference. It has been written by a person who knew Black Dahlia from the childhood. She has had access to several files, papers, records, and other material which other investigators did not have. She interviewed several people before writing this book, and presumably they confided more in her than in any other investigator. The result is the production of a this book, and presumably gathered more information.
Undoubtedly this book carries more authenticity than several others on the same subject. The book is well illustrated, gives transcripts of many courtroom dramas, and gives a list of suspects too. The book comes up with a suspect, which throws a major surprise at all readers.
All lovers of true crime would certainly love this book. I loved this one, and believe every other person interested in Black Dahlia case will be.
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