Since I learned a few months ago that British writer Piu Eatwell was going to “solve” the Black Dahlia case in the forthcoming book “Black Dahlia, Red Rose,” I have been waiting to see if she would open
— Door No. 1 (George Knowlton in Janice Knowlton’s “Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer”).
— Door No. 2 (Jack Anderson Wilson in John Gilmore’s “Severed”).
— Door No. 3 (Dr. George Hodel in Steve Hodel’s “Black Dahlia Avenger” franchise).
— Door No. 4 (Leslie Dillon in Jacque Daniel’s “The Curse of the Black Dahlia”).
This is, of course, assuming that nobody in their right mind would open Door No. 5 (Norman Chandler/Bugsy Siegel in Donald Wolfe’s “The Black Dahlia Files”). See “Blogging the Wolfe Book” for more information.
Or perhaps she had a completely new suspect.
Now, according to a new review in The Sunday Times, we have Door No. 4: Leslie Dillon.
It isn’t at all accurate to say that the district attorney’s files are “unseen,” because Steve Hodel has examined some of them pertaining to his father, as have Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, Jacque Daniel (the daughter of LAPD psychiatrist Paul De River – more about him later) and Donald Wolfe, although Wolfe used his research to fake a document.
Oh and I have a copy of the entire file. Fully indexed. But you knew I would.
I haven’t seen Eatwell’s book yet, so I will reserve some judgment. But I can state positively that the grand jury files are massively disorganized and anyone who doesn’t already have a thorough knowledge of the case will be utterly bewildered by them.
The executive summary: Leslie Dillon was the subject of a parallel investigation in the LAPD in which self-styled sex crime expert De River, using the “Gangster Squad,” bypassed lead Detectives Harry Hansen and Finis Brown of the Homicide Division.
De River violated LAPD protocol by doing so, but he was enraptured by the idea that Dillon (who wrote to De River after seeing an article in a pulp detective magazine) killed Elizabeth Short while under the influence of another personality whom he called “Jack Sand.” De River’s investigation blew up, he ended up in trouble and was exposed, not as a sex crime expert, but as an ear, nose and throat doctor for the VA. Dillon sued the LAPD and won a settlement.
The Dillon affair was so ridiculous that the Los Angeles County Grand Jury opened an investigation. During that investigation, the district attorney’s office pursued a large number of suspects – including Dr. George Hodel. It also spent an unbelievable amount of time reinvestigating Dillon.
The bottom line: Dillon was massively investigated and after a long, laborious inquiry was determined to have been in San Francisco when Elizabeth Short was killed. This information is in the district attorney’s files. Presumably, Eatwell ran across this finding if she had access to the grand jury files. So either she didn’t find it or she ignored it.
I will wait to read the book for a final decision, but so far I am not impressed, and certainly not optimistic.
(And no, she didn’t contact me. If she had, I would have warned her).