Blogging the Wolfe Book, the Thrill Is Gone

Page 14

“Hansen studied the body and the ‘sacred setting’ for some time before he stood up and said to Finis, ‘We won’t know what we’re really dealing with here until we get a post mortem.’ He requested that the body be covered until Ray Pinker of the crime lab arrived.”

I could quit here and be a happy man. Wolfe has been given access to the district attorney’s files. He even reprints the first two pages of the LAPD summary on Pages 325-326 of “Mogul.” But clearly Wolfe hasn’t read his own book. If he had, he would know that Pinker beat Hansen and Brown to the crime scene.

No, instead we get “Severed,” Page 10, with its assertion that the body was covered with newspapers until Pinker arrived. (And as a bonus, “Severed” claims Elizabeth Short was cut in half with “something like a bread knife.” I invite anybody who cares to attempt this to carve a turkey with such an implement next Thanksgiving. Let me know how you do).

Time for more Boy on the Bicycle stories (by now he was trolling Norton Avenue from 4 a.m. to when Will got there at 9 a.m. Apparently the Schwinn was getting a five-hour workout that morning).

“Investigators found a man’s wristwatch in the weeds near the body. It was determined that the watch had only recently been lost as it did not appear to be weathered.”

Until Steve Hodel dredged up this wristwatch in “Dahlia Avenger,” it was a footnote to a footnote. Of course Hodel uses it as yet another piece of incriminating evidence to implicate Dr. George “Evil Genius” Hodel in the killing and goes so far as to produce pictures of his father wearing a watch.

Another bit of three-card monte. Wolfe makes it appear that the watch was found by detectives in proximity to Elizabeth Short at the time the body was discovered.

No

And

No

And

No.

First, according to the Herald-Express and the Los Angeles Times, the watch wasn’t found until about four days later.

Second, it wasn’t discovered by investigators, but by Daniel Wright Jr., 16, of 3535 S. 5th Ave.

Third, the watch was found 200 yards south of the crime scene.

“Mogul,” however, reports sternly: “The person, or one of the persons, who disposed of the body, may have discovered that his watch was missing and suspected it had been lost at the site. Perhaps concerned that a fingerprint could be found on the face or back of the steel casing, the owner might have returned in the black sedan in an attempt to retrieve it. Thought it was stated by the press that ‘Police chemists were checking ownership of the military watch,’ no follow-up stories appeared regarding results of the examination for prints.”

Time for my walk.

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
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One Response to Blogging the Wolfe Book, the Thrill Is Gone

  1. A very interesting story. Is that photo of the wristwatch the real thing?

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