Black Dahlia: Larry Harnisch Reviews Steve Hodel on ‘Black Dahlia Avenger’


I made a “reaction” video of me watching a Steve Hodel Zoom session sponsored by Sisters in Crime of Atlanta.

I have been fact-checking Steve Hodel since Black Dahlia Avenger was published in 2003 and even I was amazed by some of his lies. Notice that Elizabeth Short is barely mentioned in Steve’s presentation. It’s all about his “journey.”

Also: 6 Reasons George Hodel Didn’t Kill Elizabeth Short.

Steve is a skilled liar and in this video, he unintentionally gives a master class in how police officers lie: He is always confident, self-assured, if he sees an inconvenient fact coming his way, he sidesteps it. He gives out the minimal information and nothing extra. He never gets rattled or loses his cool. He is always in control of the narrative. When he cannot dispute the facts, he attacks the individual, which is what he does with me. I’m the “sour grapes” hardcore “naysayer” who dares to question the great LAPD homicide detective.

Part 1 runs 112 minutes. Part 2 in on the jump.

A Personal Message to Steve Hodel.


Update: Here’s Part 2.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, Homicide, LAPD and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Black Dahlia: Larry Harnisch Reviews Steve Hodel on ‘Black Dahlia Avenger’

  1. Mary Mallory says:

    Hum? who does “When he cannot dispute the facts, he attacks the individual..” also sound like?

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  2. Matt Berger says:

    This is a solid, and very entertaining, example of what I call “interrogating memory.” Hodel’s well-documented hogwash aside, what struck me is the notion he wrote his book in secrecy. That is the biggest red flag of all. When I wrote my Interrogating Memory book (for more please see https://justbearwithme.blog/), I told anybody who would listen I was writing a book. And why I wrote the book. And what I was learning while writing it. And when I expected to finish it. I told the few dozen people I interviewed about it – I even showed some of them part of what I had written. There is no “interrogating memory” without total transparency. Also, dragging in the Zodiac killings is deeply offensive to everyone involved with the case. Why not say George Hodel killed “the boy in the box” or the Atlanta victims charged to Wayne Williams? Ridiculous.

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    • lmharnisch says:

      I think the most Steve Hodel told the family was that he was writing some sort of memoir about his life. NOTHING about him accusing his dad of all these murders. And, most significantly, he never asked to see his dad’s LAPD file before he wrote the book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Matt Berger says:

        I sheepishly admit I read Severed and BDA and Donald Wolfe’s book (as well as your website), and while I was never *convinced* by any of them, it is easy to be seduced by authoritative-sounding nonsense. Actually, your live blog of the Wolfe blog was a key inspiration for my notion of “interrogating memory.” And the Interrogating Memory book itself is a primer on what happens when you set aside the “story” and look carefully at whatever valid evidence exists – the truth is usually a lot more interesting. 🙂

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      • lmharnisch says:

        It certainly is!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Matt Berger says:

        And, very soon, you will be able to read all about it. 🙂

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  3. Kris says:

    Thank you for posting this real time rebuttal. It was fun to watch. He really does just barrel ahead with “new evidence uncovered” every week. It is hard to believe that his fans just accept everything with no questions asked. I have also become engrossed in the William Desmond Taylor murder since you posted about it a while back. Thank you for your research.

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    • lmharnisch says:

      Thanks! The folks who research the William Desmond Taylor murder tend to be refreshingly scientific and rational.

      Like

      • Kris says:

        It’s so intriguing. It had to be either the mother (Charlotte Shelby) or the daughter, Mary Miles Minter, right? The angel of the bullet was so strange. Are there any books that you recommend on that case or the people involved? I would love to read more. Thank you.

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      • Mary Mallory says:

        A friend of mine researching the Arbuckle/Rappe trials saw all the stories about the death in the papers occurring around the time of the first trial. There had been robberies in Taylor’s neighborhood happening for several weeks. When he died, the robberies all stopped, with one of the LA detectives surmising that the robber was caught in the act and accidentally shot Taylor, there was no grand histronic event by Shelby, Minter, or Margaret Gibson as suggested in what is good fiction, TINSELTOWN.

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  4. Stephen Jon Powers says:

    The videos are a like opening a window into a dusty, musty, secretive room where none dared go. It’s time for a reckoning and there is no one better than you Larry to pull aside the curtains and let the bright light in. Also thank you for putting in a good word for the old LAPD which not only is rare these days, but also knocks down one of Hodel’s foundational claims – that they were too corrupt, inept, and frightened to charge his father with Short’s murder (as well as several others). Good point about the incoming chief who would have been more than happy to get a conviction if there had been compelling evidence on anyone. Dr. George Hodel was more of a nerd than a criminal mastermind.

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    • lmharnisch says:

      The LAPD has a complicated history, but people generally don’t want to bother with it. All too often when discussing the 1940s, they adopt a bunch of film noir tropes and, unfortunately, Steve Hodel exploits that. The Black Dahlia case was a state-of-the-art investigation — for 1947.

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  5. Warren says:

    Glad to see this- good work at debunking the non-sense. I just finished the podcast “Solving the Black Dahlia,” in which you were interviewed. I personally feel that your theory is the best one out there. That being said, I remember reading an article you wrote in the late 1990s or early 2000s where you mentioned that there was a butchers strike that ended around the same time as the murder. Is there an outside chance that the murderer could have been a disgruntled/unhinged butcher, using his knowledge of dressing game to commit the crime?

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