Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder

Overview

The grisly 1947 murder of aspiring starlet and nightclub habitue Elizabeth Short, known even before her death asthe "Black Dahlia," has over the decades transmognified from L.A.'s crime of the century to an almost muthical symbol of Hollywood Babtlon/film noir glamour-cum-sordidness. SEVERED the first true-crime book published on the strangest of all "unsolved" murders in the annals of modern crime, offers the documented solution to the case as endorsed by law enforcement and forensic science experts. It is ...
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Overview

The grisly 1947 murder of aspiring starlet and nightclub habitue Elizabeth Short, known even before her death asthe "Black Dahlia," has over the decades transmognified from L.A.'s crime of the century to an almost muthical symbol of Hollywood Babtlon/film noir glamour-cum-sordidness. SEVERED the first true-crime book published on the strangest of all "unsolved" murders in the annals of modern crime, offers the documented solution to the case as endorsed by law enforcement and forensic science experts. It is appropriate that hard-boiled, Hollywood-born author John Gilmore, whose father was an Lapd officer at the time of the murder, should be the one to unravel the mutilayered mystery of this archetypal Los Angeles slaying, having begun his painstaking investigations into the case over thirty-five years ago.

One is the tale of Victim Elizabeth Short, Small-town beauty queen with big hopes, who seemed to float through her tragically furtile life as an alluring yet doomladen enigma. Another is the tangled inside story of the police investigations and the remorseless, Hearst-stoked press hoopla that paralleled it. Finally, Gilmore reveals the twisted psychology and down-and -out-life story of the actual murderer---as well as the startling circumstances and gruesome details of the killer's indirect confessions to him.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781878923103
  • Publisher: Amok Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.68 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2005

    Wow!

    This book makes you feel bad for Elizabeth Short but only because she was incapable of being a prostitute, in every other way she was but you still feel for her. She really wanted to be a STAR in Hollywood and lived that dream that we all deep down inside wish for and still want. She wanted to be discovered, she was beautiful but the wrong person found her. By the end of this book you will know who killed her and why. There is NO doubt as to who her killer was. It is a shame that the forensics of today wasn't available then.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005

    Take the Herman Willis challenge

    I took someone at his word and decided to search the internet for any verification that Gilmore's source, LAPD Detective Herman Willis, really existed. Guess what? The only references out there to any Herman Willis who had anything do with law enforcement are referring to Gilmore's book, not to anything outside it. According to Gilmore, this guy was a key player in the Black Dahlia murder investigation, and yet there is no trace or him as a real-world person. It sure looks to me like Detective Herman Willis is a fictional character created by John Gilmore. If Gilmore made up Herman Willis for his book, what else did he make up? If this book was being sold as fiction, I would not have a problem with it. But there is a word for passing off a fictional story as actual fact. I think we all know what that word is.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    Truly, the best work out there on this subject

    This is simply 'the' guidebook you should follow if you would like to know everything about the Black Dahlia killing. I was so enthralled with this that I couldn't put it down. After reading other works on the subject, I keep returning to 'Severed'. The writing is wonderful, the pictures are captivating, and there are facts that are not mentioned in any other work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2001

    The Definitive Account

    First, I take exception to 'another' reviewer's off base remarks with regard to the veracity and facts in this book. The actor, Franchot Tone, did try to pick up Ms. Short, unsuccessfully, and the Tone family has its own reasons to keep this factoid under wraps, second, the LAPD has had a Metro Division since 1933, in what is now Parker Center, and was in Room 114. Third, the detective, Herman Willis, was an actual detective at the time of the murder. These accounts can be easily verified on the Internet, and pointing them out as errors is more reflective of the critic/LA Times reporter's personal agenda rather than actual fact. The book is actually an extremely well-written, thoughtful and evocative account of this girl's descent into the quagmire of 1940's Hollywood, the absolute worst of the worst in terms of decadence and predatory types. She sought out the kind of people who were involved in petty schemes and nefarious doings and eventually encountered her killer in this melange of monsters. Her sole focus was on fame, and she did whatever she could to attain what she hoped would be a career in front of the cameras. There were plenty of criminal types who preyed on these girls, and would tell them anything they wanted to hear in order to take advantage of them and their dreams; unfortunately for Ms. Short, she went with the demon who tortured her for, what the coroner later speculated was a 72 hour torture session, and never saw her name up in lights, but achieved a grislier fame, as that of a victim who died such a terrible death that it is talked about and argued to this day, some 54 years later. Gilmore is a master of setting the mood of L.A. in the 1940's, replete with all the peripheral characters Hollywood was overflowing with and taking the reaader to the streets of same...his descriptions and attention to detail add to the rich mix of sin and glamour, the quest of which cost this doomed young girl her life. One cannot truly imagine what she endured waiting for death to release her from the horror of the things which were perpetrated on her body during those last agonal hours... Kudos to Mr. Gilmore for providing us with this incisive glimpse into a world long gone but brought back vividly to life, and giving us a taste of what Hollywood and this crime were really like and how they relate so well to each other; the perfect stage setting and the perfect crime, since no one has ever been charged, nor is likely to be at this late date.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2000

    I'M CONVINCED!!!

    I have read a number of books on the Black Dahlia, but must say that in this work by John Gilmore by far and away lends more detail and insight into the 1947 unsolved case than any other and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!! There are many details that have never been addressed before in other works on the same subject. It somehow bought a sense of closure on the case as far as I'm concerned. There are some graphic photos in the book, but then if the reader has an interest in the subject matter, that should not pose any discomfort. After all it was one of the most grizzley crimes committed in that era. I got the book from the Library but have ordered it for my very vast personal Library.

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