Famed L.A. Author Ray Bradbury Short Story Inspired by 1947 Black Dahlia and Red Lipstick Murders

                                        Ray Bradbury 


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
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.  



                                  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. 

Bradbury Hodel La Quinta RoundTable West 2004.JPG


  1. Joey on June 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Has there any been news about the human remains Buster found back in February? Thanks

  2. Steve Hodel on June 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    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

  3. Kelly on July 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Somehow this Bradbury story has escaped my radar. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Kelly on July 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    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?

  5. Steve Hodel on July 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    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

  6. Karen on July 8, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Could it be “At Midnight in the Month of June”?
    This is a serial killer story told from the killer’s viewpoint.

  7. Jessica on July 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    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.
    Best regards,

  8. Steve Hodel on July 24, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Hi Jessica: Thanks for the kind words. Glad you’re enjoying the read. Best Wishes back at you. Steve

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