Given the brevity of human life, I don’t plan to do a line-by-line debunking of Piu Eatwell’s upcoming book “Black Dahlia, Red Rose.” Longtime readers may recall my labors over Donald Wolfe’s “The Black Dahlia Files,” which lasted for months.
If not, you can read them here: Blogging the Wolfe Book – Seven Years Later
Eatwell’s “Black Dahlia, Red Rose” doesn’t go on sale until Oct. 10, but a preview has been posted at Google Books, so I will make a few observations:
The first page of the preface of Piu Eatwell’s “Black Dahlia, Red Rose.” When an author makes two elementary blunders in the same sentence of the opening paragraph, you can be sure that poor work is ahead.
For those who are new to the Black Dahlia case, or have had their minds polluted by a number of bad books and what’s on the Internet, here are two obvious mistakes:
Mistake No. 1: The newspapers did not name the Black Dahlia case. Elizabeth Short was nicknamed the Black Dahlia by patrons of a drugstore in Long Beach in a play on the 1946 movie “The Blue Dahlia.”
Jan. 17, 1947: The Los Angeles Herald-Express tries to nickname the killing of Elizabeth Short as the “Werewolf Murder.” It didn’t stick.
It is true that Los Angeles newspapers, typically the Los Angeles Herald-Express, nicknamed killings, and the Herald tried to nickname the killing of Elizabeth Short. But the Herald’s nickname — “the Werewolf Killing” or “the Werewolf Murder” — fell into disuse after a few days. A report in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s files says that the newspapers nicknamed the case, but that statement is wrong – a vivid if unintentional illustration of how careful one must be with those documents.
Mistake No. 2: Neither the Black Dahlia files nor any other cold cases of similar age are stored “in the basement of the Los Angeles Police Department.” The Black Dahlia files are famously kept in a locked filing cabinet in the Robbery-Homicide Division at the Police Administration Building. Before that, the file cabinet was in the Robbery-Homicide Division at Parker Center. The LAPD’s less celebrated old cases are typically stored at the Los Angeles City Archives at Piper Tech (a.k.a. C. Erwin Piper Technical Center, 555 Ramirez St.),
Updated at 3:20 p.m. The paragraph above has been slightly revised for clarity.
Do I really need to explain why work of this caliber is suspect?
To be continued as time allows.