Famed L.A. Author Ray Bradbury Short Story Inspired by 1947 Black Dahlia and Red Lipstick Murders
Los Angeles, California
It would appear that one of author Ray Bradbury’s earliest
short stories was “inspired” by two of the real life/real death 1940s L.A. Lone Woman Murders.
In 1947, just months after the sensational newspaper reportage
of the January 15, Elizabeth Short “Black Dahlia Murder” followed three weeks
later and linked to a second crime, the February 10, Jeanne French, “Red
Lipstick Murder”–Ray Bradbury wrote his mystery-fiction short story- Summer Night.
At the time of the murders, Ray Bradbury had been living and
writing in Los Angeles, for over a decade and had decided to make it his permanent
residence for the rest of his long and distinguished career.
In Bradbury’s Summer
Night, a city is being terrorized by a serial-killer who within a two-week
period has slain two women and left their bodies in public view. In his tale of terror, Bradbury calls his suspect, “The Lipstick Killer” who has left his
unique mark on both of his female victims’ bodies by writing using Orange
Shortly after the publication of Bradbury’s short story, it
was adapted to radio and aired the following year (1948) as a Suspense
radio dramatization starring actress Ida Lupino.
To hear the original 1948 thirty-minute radio broadcast of Summer Night click
I was fortunate to share an author’s Round Table West talk with Ray Bradbury in 2004 at the at La Quinta in Palm Springs. Great honor and delight.
Has there any been news about the human remains Buster found back in February? Thanks
Joey: Unfortunately, still not completed by the lab. Very Frustrating! They keep telling us “a few more weeks” but no results yet. Unfortunately our analysis gets bumped as they keep taking the active court cases first (understandable) but still, seems like a long long wait. Will publish as soon as we get any results either way. Best, Steve
Somehow this Bradbury story has escaped my radar. Thanks for pointing it out.
Okay, my search for the story has been fruitless. It appears that the radio adaptation is called “Summer Night,” but the story must have a different name. Any clue what it might be?
Hi Kelly. Not yet. I ordered a couple of Bradbury books from the late 1940s, but so far haven’t found it. Yes, it very likely has a different name. Best, Steve
Could it be “At Midnight in the Month of June”?
This is a serial killer story told from the killer’s viewpoint.
Hi Mr. Hodel,
I wanted to send a bit of fan mail and couldn’t find a point of contact (or didn’t look hard enough).
I am in the middle of The Black Dahlia Avenger and I am riveted. It is a superb book and by far one of my favorite true crime novels. Thank you very much for writing this extraordinary book that must have been your most arduous task to date.
Hi Jessica: Thanks for the kind words. Glad you’re enjoying the read. Best Wishes back at you. Steve