Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Black Dahlia

Black Dahlia Intro

Elizabeth Short
Elizabeth Short

Elizabeth Short has been portrayed many ways in the six decades since her body was dumped in two pieces on an empty lot in Los Angeles: Manipulative playgirl. Aspiring starlet. Naïve cock tease. Troubled soul.

Above all, time has immortalized Elizabeth Short as the pin-up girl of Los Angeles Noir. The Black Dahlia. Fascination with her life, and especially her death — her gruesome, violent, unsolved murder — continues to this day.

The story of the unemployed 22-year-old waitress has inspired dozens of books, Web sites, a video game and even an Australian swing band. The quest to pinpoint her killer has become a hobby for generations of armchair detectives.

The Los Angeles Police Department has all but given up hope of ever closing the Dahlia case; the department has more urgent crimes to investigate, and the killer has likely been dead for years. Yet, it is precisely the unsolved status of Elizabeth Short's murder that gives it such an enduring allure.


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