The Black Dahlia Study Guide

The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

Reporters swarm the station. Bucky demands to be taken off the case, but Loew refuses.

Bucky reviews the file compiled by Russ Millard. Elizabeth had no alcohol or drugs in her system when she died. She has a history of lying and dating servicemen. The last known boyfriend is a man named Red. Police are trying to locate and interview him.

Bucky goes with Bill Koenig to talk to the victim’s neighbors. Lee is passed out on a bench because his pills have worn off.

They talk to the landlady first who says“Beth” was an awful tenant because she was late with the rent. Her apartment has private steps, so she didn’t have to come through the front door. She didn’t see men with her, but heard noises at all hours of the night.

They talk to a girl named Sheryl, who tells them Betty had too many boyfriends and was a liar. Betty lied so much she had trouble keeping her lies straight. She would tell people her father was dead, then the next day, talk about her father. One time, Betty claimed to have worked on a movie. Sheryl did not know the name of the movie, but saw that Betty had an expensive viewfinder she was showing the other girls.

Bucky and Koenig drive to another house. Koenig takes Hal and Don, two men who dated Betty. Bucky interviews Marjorie who says Betty used people and borrowed money. She did anything to be liked and took on the mannerisms of those around her. Betty was in a movie and showed the viewfinder to get attention. She told one person the movie was for Paramount, and told another person the movie was for Fox. Marjorie also says Betty may have been a lesbian involved with an older woman and had a girlfriend named Linda Martin, who lives there as well.

Bucky enters Linda’s apartment. Linda is gone. Bucky finds her identification, stating her name is Lorna Martilkova and is fifteen years old.

Bucky issues an all-points juvenile warrant on Linda. He calls the Screen Actor’s Guild and learns that Elizabeth has not been in any legitimate movie. He also interviews women at lesbian bars, but doesn’t find any leads.

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