The Black Dahlia Study Guide

The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

Bucky Bleichert, the narrator, meets his partner, Lee Blanchard, when they are boxing opponents. Blanchard has the reputation of a hero, and Bleichert has the reputation of a snitch.

Bleichert is sent to control a riot. He looks around at the fighting, and then runs down an empty residential street. An old man tells him he is the second police officer to run away. He runs into Blanchard, who is fighting off four men. One of the men is Tomas Dos Santos, who is the subject of an all points fugitive warrant. Blanchard cuffs Dos Santos to himself

Blanchard tells Bleichert he ran away from the riot because he knew there was nothing he could do. The three men spend the night in an empty house. They talk about each other’s reputations. Blanchard was an up and coming officer with friends in high places until he lost them. He also lives with the ex-girlfriend of a man he arrested, which is in violation of the police code. Still, Blanchard plans to be promoted quickly. Blanchard suggests he and Bleichert could be partners someday. In the morning, Blanchard brings Dos Santos in and Bleichert goes back to the station.

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