The Black Dahlia Study Guide

The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

Lee calls Bucky and wakes him with a tip about Nash. Bucky meets Lee an apartment building where Nash is renting a place. Nash hasn’t been there in a week. They enter the apartment and find nothing. Bucky sees a group of police officers staring at something in the weeds outside.

Bucky runs outside and sees the coroner and the photo car and knows this is a serious crime scene.

Bucky sees the nude, mutilated body of a young woman. She has been cut in half at the waist. The lower half of her body lay several feet away, legs wide open. Flaps of skin have been cut from her body and her organs have been removed. Her entire body has been slashed, her nose smashed into the facial cavity, and her mouth has been cut from ear to ear.

The police decide to limit the information released about the crime and are sworn to secrecy. Reporters are not allowed near the body or near the crime scene. There is no visible blood at the crime scene. After the coroner takes the body, police canvass the area, talking to everyone they see.

Lee is insistent on investigating the crime, even though they are not Homicide. Bucky believes this is because of Lee’s sister. Lee is determined to get the murderer.

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