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.