Last night I was watching The Black Dahlia, an intriguing dramatization of Hollywood’s most notorious and gruesome unsolved murder. Though the movie’s plot was a bit convoluted, it successfully evoked the glamour of Hollywood in the 1940s and inspired me to want to read the book the movie was based on.  Although I love mysteries and crime fiction, I haven’t yet read anything by James Ellroy, whose real life could have come straight out of one of his noirish novels. His mother was murdered when he was just ten (the culprit was never found), and he faced a harrowing descent into clinical depression and alcohol addiction.  Fortunately, he eventually recovered from those troubled years and has gone to write nearly a dozen successful books, including his memoir My Dark Places.  

When I was reading about him online this morning, I came across a tour company in Los Angeles that runs a “Real Black Dahlia” bus tour, which takes mystery fans around to some of the spots related to the real-life Dahlia, Elizabeth Short. Among them are the lobby of the Biltmore hotel, one of the last places she was seen alive, and Leimart Park, where her grisly remains were found. This tour sounds like it’s not for the faint of heart! The next one is taking place this Saturday, August 16th.
–Joni Rendon