Monday, January 17, 2011

James Ellroy's LA: City of Demons

One of Hollywood's notorious unsolved murders, that of Elizabeth Short, whom the papers dubbed "The Black Dahlia," is featured in the first episode of Investigation Discovery's new six-part series, "James Ellroy's LA: City of Demons," which premieres this Wednesday, January 19, at 10 p.m. ET.

Short's body was discovered on January 15, 1947.

Ellroy is the best-selling crime writer of such novels as L.A. Confidential, Blood's a Rover, American Tabloid, and two memoirs, The Hilliker Curse and My Dark Places.

Ellroy is a larger-than-life character who was so emotionally wounded as a child when he secretly cursed his mother dead after an argument, and she turned up dead three months later. When his father gave him The Badge by Jack Webb, he was astonished after reading about the Black Dahlia. For him, the Black Dahlia was just like his mother -- and he became obsessed.

Wednesday's episode, "Dead Women Own Me," also features several other murders, including Ellroy's mother, Jean Hilliker (1958), 16 year old Stephanie Gorman (1965) and 17 year old Lily Burk (2009).

Ellroy is a lively host who enjoys alliteration. He also doesn't mince words. "Closure is nonsense," he insists. "Nothing this bad ever ends; murder is a powerfully perennial puzzle."

The show includes several interviews and a couple of scenes with "Barko," Ellroy's animated bull terrier sidekick.


  1. Kathleen - I've always been absolutely fascinating by the Short case. I don't exactly know why some cases just capture our imagination, but that one did mine. And Ellroy is such a talented author. Thanks for the tip about this show.

  2. You're welcome, Margot! I think it will be a marvelous series, and Ellroy is quite the interesting host. I've always been fascinated by the Short case, too. It must be the U.S.'s version of "Jack the Ripper," I think.

  3. I've got a couple of Ellroy's books around here but have not read them. I need to get on that.

  4. Hi Charles!

    This just might be your sign to crack one of them open! I have tons of books that I'm afraid I'll never get to ~ so I hear 'ya...just not enough time in the day or night! I listen to audiobooks all the time ~ in the car & at home while cooking/cleaning/laundry, so at least I get some "reading" time in...I enjoy listening to them.