Blogging the Wolfe Book — Seven Years Later

Note: In 2006, I devoted a daily blog to  fact-checking Donald Wolfe’s “The Black Dahlia Files” on a molecular level. The project was so time-consuming – and “Dahlia Files” is such junk – that I stopped about Page 96 and began taking requests to fact-check various remaining sections of the book.

I recently noticed that my blogging of the Wolfe book had received new interest and thought it would be valuable to repost the index to all the items, cleaned up a bit. The links lead to another old blog of mine, which looks completely different. Such is the nature of the Internet.

The blog begins: People keep asking me: “Have you read the Wolfe book?” meaning Donald H. Wolfe’s “The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul and the Murder That Transfixed Los Angeles.” My answer is always the same: I bought a copy but I haven’t read it yet.

Still, people keep telling me it’s a wonderful job and solves the murder, usually prefaced by the statement that “I don’t know anything about the case, but…”

So here we go, in excruciating detail, with frequent detours, asides and references to the five-foot shelf of Black Dahlia books. Since I have to read this turkey, you might as well suffer right along with me. If you’re not interested in Black Dahlia minutiae you will find this a painfully tedious process, which is why I don’t read other Black Dahlia books—they’re junk

Update: And in case you are wondering, I still haven’t heard from Wolfe about the faked document (Part 72). Not that I really expected to.

And this, not the Wolfe book, but something more enduring, an installment in the “Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue” series, one of my mother’s childhood favorites.


Larry Harnisch (described by James Ellroy as a Dahlia scholar/Dahlia freak, take your pick) is blogging in real time as he reads Donald H. Wolfe’s “The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul and the Murder That Transfixed Los Angeles.”

Part 1, Blogging the Wolfe Book
Part 2, The Monster
Part 3, Extra! Extra!
Part 4, Sniff Test
Part 5, Weather Report
Part 6, The Boy on the Bicycle
Part 7, A “C” From the Health Inspector
Part 8, Neutral Milk Hotel
Part 9, A Moment of Silence, Please
Part 10, The Riddler


Above, another of my mother’s favorite childhood books.


Part 11, The Thrill Is Gone
Part 12, I’m My Own Grandpaw
Part 13, The Subject Is Roses
Part 14, Teutonic Thoroughness
Part 15, Time for a Reality Check
Part 16, a Moment of Silence
Part 17, The Lookies
Part 18, Uncle Vern
Part 19, The Houyhnhnms
Part 20, The FBI Story
Part 21, The Cloudy Crystal Ball
Part 22, The Funny Papers
Part 23, The Pinata
Part 24, He Walked by Night
Part 25, Loyalty
Part 26, Missing Man Formation
Part 27, Collecting Our Thoughts
Part 28, A Rain Check
Part 29, Wreck of the Old 97
Part 30, Tick, Tick, Tick
Part 31, Phoning It In
Part 32, Foxy Grandpa
Part 33, Pied Type
Part 34, Limbo
Part 35, Paint by Numbers
Part 36, Bust of a Man
Part 37, Mystery Woman
Part 38, Slasher Flick
Part 39, Aiding and Abetting
Part 40, Who Was That Masked Man?
Part 41, The Whole Nine Yards
Part 42, The Face Is Familiar
Part 43, Our Far-Flung Correspondents
Part 44, Honored Guests

Large Image
Still another of my mother’s favorite childhood books.


Part 45, Nothing but Compost
Part 46, Snooze Alarm
Part 47, Wax On, Wax Off
Part 48, An Army of One
Part 49, Family Ties
Part 50, Trying to Make It Real Compared to What
Part 51, Slinging Hash
Part 52, The Numbers Game
Part 53, Imagine My Surprise
Part 54, Tell It to the Marines
Part 55, Evil Genius
Part 56, The Lady in Red
Part 57, Lines of History
Part 58, The Countdown Begins
Part 59, Pleas and Thank-Yous
Part 60, Deuteronomy 33:24
Part 61, Request Line I
Part 62, Request Line II
Part 63, Request Line III
Part 64, Request Line IV
Part 65, Request Line V
Part 66, Request Line VI
Part 67, A Mystery Solved
Part 68, Request Line VII
Part 69, Courtesy Card
Part 70, Request Line VIII
Part 71, Request Line IX
Part 72, How to Fake a Document
Part 73, The Old Spuriousity Shoppe
Part 74, Request Line X
Part 75, Request Line XI
Part 76, Request Line XII
Part 77, Request Line XIII
Part 78, Request Line XIV
Part 79 (I can’t believe it myself),  Request Line XV
Part 80, Request Line XVI
Part 81, Request Line XVII
Part 82, L.A. Abortions in the 1940s
Part 83, Request Line XVIII
Part 84, Request Line XIX
Part 85, Request Line XX
Part 86, Request Line XXI
Part 87, Request Line XXII
Part 88, The Two-Minute Executive Summary
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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, 2006, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Cold Cases, Film, Hollywood, LAPD and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Blogging the Wolfe Book — Seven Years Later

  1. Eve says:

    Laura Lee Hope! I have her entire Moving Picture Girls series, girl’s book from the 1910s about a pair of crime-solving photoplay actresses.

    And, Larry, I am going to nag you mercilessly till you write your own Dahlia book. It would be the only non-crazy one ever done.

  2. Carol Gwenn says:

    After hearing so much about the Wolfe book, I finally read it…some of it…until I started laughing.
    Found a copy at Out of the Closet for a buck – hey, the buck (about 99 cents more than the thing is worth) went to a good cause. Now that I’ve plowed through many of its strange pages, I must congratulate you on your ability to deconstruct such a total mess in such painstaking fashion. Have done a lot of research myself for various projects, but have NEVER had to deal with something so gawdawful. Thank you so much for the time you put into this.

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