LOS ANGELES, Jan. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On January 15, 1947, the Black Dahlia murder hit Los Angeles like a bombshell. The savage death of beautiful 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, an aspiring starlet and nightclub habitué known as the “Black Dahlia,” commanded the attention of post-WWII America. In the seventy-five years since her murder, the Black Dahlia has become a magnetic icon in American pop culture, a mythical symbol of noir Hollywood. With Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia, acclaimed author John Gilmore plumbs the dark core of this terrifying story. Here is the real Elizabeth Short—the enigmatic Black Dahlia.
The Black Dahlia murder—unlike such earlier headline-grabbing cases as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the Lindbergh kidnapping—was the first to grip the psyche of post-war America with its stark carnality. The question of who killed the Black Dahlia stands today as one of the most intractable mysteries in the annals of true crime.
Director David Lynch described Severed as “the most satisfying and disturbing conclusion to the Black Dahlia case. After reading Severed, I feel like I truly know Elizabeth Short and her killer.” In his hard-boiled yet haunting prose, Gilmore evokes some of the spookiest corridors of old-time Los Angeles, the wartime world of Hollywood bars, dance halls and rooming houses where, as the author puts it, “no one remembers the names.” Severed also unfolds the tangled inside story of the police investigation into the murder and the Hearst-stoked media frenzy that paralleled it.
Severed remains the first non-fiction book to offer a documented exploration of the Black Dahlia case endorsed by law enforcement and forensic science experts. Gilmore reveals the twisted psychology and down-and-out life story of the murder suspect, including transcripts of his taped “indirect confession.” In his book The Cases That Haunt Us, legendary FBI profiler John E. Douglas (author of Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit) states that “Gilmore has done extensive research into the Short case. . . Had Detective St. John had the opportunity to interview Arnold Smith, the outcome might have been different.”
Publishers Weekly declared that Severed “delves deeply into one of Hollywood’s most celebrated murder cases.” Through Gilmore’s relentless spade work, the spectral luster of this most spectacular unsolved murder in American crime history seems not diminished but enhanced. The updated third edition of Severed includes a new foreword and afterword, expanded photo section, index and never-before-published evidence and forensic material from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Ultimately, John Gilmore boils down the undying allure of the case to this haiku-like equation: “The pale white body severed in two and left for the world to view, and her name: Black Dahlia.”
About the Author:
John Gilmore has been internationally acclaimed for his true crime books, literary fiction and Hollywood memoirs and biographies. Described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “the quintessential L.A. noir writer,” it is fitting that Gilmore should be the one to have penetrated the mystery of this archetypal Los Angeles murder. Gilmore’s father was an LAPD officer at the time of the Black Dahlia murder, his mother was a would-be starlet with MGM and Gilmore himself was a rebellious young actor in the ’50s, carousing with the likes of James Dean, Dennis Hopper and Vampira. John Gilmore died in Los Angeles in 2016.
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Publisher, Amok Books
SOURCE Amok Books