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In 1946, movie star wannabe Elizabeth Short traveled to Hollywood to become famous and see her name up in lights. Instead, the dark-haired beauty became immortalized in the headlines as the "Black Dahlia" when her nude and bisected body was discovered in the weeds of a vacant lot. Despite the efforts of more than 400 police officers, homicide investigators, and the arrest of numerous suspects, the heinous crime was never solved.
Now, after endless speculation, theories, and false claims, bestselling author Donald H. Wolfe discovers startling new evidence and reveals the shocking secrets of the sealed autopsy -- buried in the files of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office for more than half a century. Furthermore, Wolfe discloses that the brutal murder of Elizabeth Short was the work of one of the most notorious mob leaders of the era, a brazen playboy known for his explosive temper and pathological bouts of violence -- Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel.
How did this ordinary young woman from Medford, Massachusetts, end up the victim of Los Angeles's most powerful political and criminal elements? Wolfe evokes the time, place, and converging circumstances that led her down a tangled trail to her death. Desperate for cash and showbiz connections, Short entered a labyrinthine world of Syndicate-run clubs, brothels, casinos, and other shady velvet rope operations that catered to Hollywood's elite and preyed on naive, ambitious beauties such as herself. Soon after she took a job with Madam Brenda Allen's call-girl ring, which fell within Bugsy Siegel's vice-map, Short found herself involved with the most powerful political figure in the city, the mogul who ran Los Angeles -- Norman Chandler. Wolfe discovers that the real trouble began when Short became pregnant with his child.
In recounting the whole noir tale in The Black Dahlia Files, Wolfe not only reveals the motive behind the murder and identifies the killer and his accomplices, but also shrewdly unravels the large-scale cover-up behind the case. With the aid of more than 150 archival photos, news clippings, and investigative reports, Wolfe documents the riveting untold story that stands apart from all other works on the Black Dahlia case and casts a far wider net -- implicating practically an entire city and Hollywood way of life in the murder of an aspiring starlet.
Wolfe's extensive research, based on the evidence he discovered in the recently opened LADA files on the murder, make The Black Dahlia Files the authoritative work on the mystery that has drawn endless scrutiny but remained unsolved -- until now.
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Donald H. Wolfe is the author of The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, which became an international bestseller and Literary Guild Selection. In Hollywood, California, where he was born and raised, Wolfe became a film editor at Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros., where he worked on All the President's Men and became a screenwriter for Steven Spielberg. A contributor to the New York Times and Paris-Match, Wolfe now lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.From Publishers Weekly:
This unsettling exposé presents a comprehensive look at the case the captivated Los Angeles in the 1940s. Wolfe, who investigated the controversial death of another Hollywood beauty in 1998's The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, turns his attention to aspiring starlet Elizabeth Short, whose severed body was found in a vacant lot on January 15, 1947. A student at Beverly Hills High at the time, the author felt the city's temperament in those days, which adds texture to his account of a murder police never intended to solve. Using files from the District Attorney's Office that were recently made public, Wolfe connects Bugsy Siegel and Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler to Short's death, detailing an extensive police cover-up and exhaustive efforts to mislead the press. Although his theory is largely circumstantial-he puts a lot of faith in a second-hand account from two cops he acknowledges were corrupt-his is the most credible explanation to date. Wolfe is also a first-rate writer who depicts a city where police and mobsters routinely committed atrocities and those with connections were dealt get-out-of-jail-free cards while women were murdered or went quietly missing. Photos.
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