copyright 1987; The Mysterious Press publishers, New York; hardbound in black boards with metal foil lettering along spine; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
The Black Dahlia (1987) is a crime fiction novel by American author James Ellroy. Its subject is the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles, California, which received wide attention because her corpse was horrifically mutilated and discarded in an empty residential lot. The investigation ultimately led to a broad police corruption scandal. While rooted in the facts of the Short murder and featuring many real-life people, places and events, Ellroy's novel blends facts and fiction, notably in solving Short's crime when in reality her murder was unsolved. James Ellroy dedicated The Black Dahlia, "To Geneva Hilliker Ellroy 1915-1958 Mother: Twenty-nine Years Later, This Valediction in Blood." The epigraph for The Black Dahlia is "Now I fold you down, my drunkard, my navigator, My first lost keeper, to love and look at later. -Anne Sexton."
On January 15, 1947, the hideously mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, or the "Black Dahlia", is found in an abandoned lot and becomes a media sensation. Lee is especially disturbed by the case; Bleichert learns Lee's beloved sister Laurie vanished without a trace years earlier. For his part, Bucky develops a strange obsession with Short, identifying with her troubled, nomadic, and marginal life. As he investigates the murder, Bucky encounters Madeleine Sprague, a spoiled socialite who greatly resembles Short and had a one-time sexual encounter with her. In exchange with keeping her name out of the papers, Madeleine plies Bucky with sex, causing him to fantasize that Madeline is Short. Bucky meets her family, which endures constant abuse from her father Emmett, a property developer.
Digging into the seedy underworld of Los Angeles, Bucky finds a film of Short and uncovers a familial web of police corruption peripherally tied to her murder. One person commits suicide, and an officer who solicited kinky sex from Short is convicted. In the midst of this, Bucky gives up Madeleine and commits to Kay. As he continues his investigation, he hears contradictory descriptions about Short, learning that she had been raped as a teenager, was rescued by some servicemen, learned she was infertile, and became promiscuous with servicemen as she thought of them as her saviors. Meanwhile, Lee disappears, seemingly having travelled to Tijuana, Mexico.
As he searches Tijuana, Bucky learns that Lee has been murdered...