Rosco and Felix Remembered – A Boxer Retrospective


Los Angeles, California
June 2, 2016
(Reposts andUpdates from 2006- 2010 blogs)

Q: In your author photographs I notice you have used ROSCO, a boxer dog, on the cover of your books. What’s his story?








Rosco was an orphan. Shortly after birth he was adopted by a loving couple and raised in ELA’s Hollenbeck district. He is fluent (and reads) Spanish, English, French and Romanian.

Rosco is one tough dog. In his youth, he spent a fair amount of time “in the streets” growing up in LA’s barrios.  He got in with the wrong pack, got “connected”, then became a “made dog” and got busted. Rosco was pressured by prosecutors to turn State’s evidence in a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) beef. He did his time was released and lived in a SAFE HOUSE in a Southern California community. Rosco “retired” and became an avid reader of books and loved classic film noir movies.

In his younger years (Christmas 2000) Rosco, “A Dog for All Seasons” was featured on the cover of DOGTIME Magazine  (seen below) wishing his fans a “Cool Yule.”








DOGTIME cover dog 2000


Roberta and Rosco preparing for a photo shoot







Rosco’s uncle Felix, who was raised by Roberta in Toluca Lake, near Warner Brother’s Studios, passed away in 1998. Felix was a prominent character actor in Hollywood, with bite-parts in a number of A-List films. (Below you may recognize him in scenes from: Godfather Part I, Unforgiven, and La Cage aux Folles.








Old Dog New Trick – Rosco Rocks!
Rosco the Boxer Begins His Read of the Romanian Translation at 80!

Rosco reading Romanian BDA







Rosco Reading “Enigma Daliei Negre” (Romanian Black Dahlia Avenger)

Orange County, California
June 28,  2009

Rosco the Boxer, who is rapidly approaching his 80th birthday, with bull-dogged/boxer determination rarely found in dogs half his age has recently enrolled at an Orange County Community College to learn Romanian. His motivation? Purely personal. It seems he wants to read the most recent Black Dahlia Avenger translation, Enigma Daliei Negre (2008) from a copy fresh off the shelves of a Bucharest bookstore.

Some of you will recognize Rosco from earlier posts.  (Reproduced above) which presents a brief bio on him and his famous film star uncle, Felix.

Rosco  1998- 2010

March 30, 2010

Rosco, the much-loved boxer dog, (who many of you know from his having posed in photographs while reading all of my separate BDA book translations) has passed on. Rosco died yesterday in Orange County. He was 12 years old.

Rosco was a warm and loving companion to my girlfriend, Roberta McCreary, who visited him frequently at her daughter’s family home in Orange County. Rosco and Roberta’s bond was very special. They were as sunshine to each other, and he will be greatly missed. The family has asked in lieu of flowers that you hug your own pet and or give it an extra treat in special memory of Rosco.

Rest In Peace Rosco

Roberta, on her regular visits to her daughter’s home in Orange County, was able to photograph Rosco (seen below lost in deep thought) as he anxiously awaited each new printing of Black Dahlia Avenger in a new language. Seen below (top to bottom) he is reading BDA in English, Greek, French, Japanese, and Romanian.















Rosco taught himself to become fluent in many languages. He grew up speaking Spanish in ELA, and went on to master:  English, French, Greek, Japanese, and just before passing enrolled himself in night school to study Romanian so he could read a recent BDA publication from that country. Rosco completed Most Evil in 2009 just before his passing.

Exclusive- An Early Five Paw Review of MOST EVIL 

(Original blog posted in October 2009 to correspond with publication of Most Evil I. Sadly, Rosco passed on five years before the release of Most Evil II (Rare Bird Books 2015) which contains M. Yves Person’s cracking of the authenticated Zodiac cipher and Dr. George Hill Hodel’s signed confession as to being Zodiac.)


“Makes the Hound of the Baskervilles look like puppies play.”

                                          Rosco the Boxer, 2009

Early Review of Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac and the Further Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel


Rosco the Boxer

I just finished reading MOST EVIL (Dutton 2009), and I’d bet my pedigree that Steve Hodel is barking up the right tree. I am somewhat of an expert on Mr. Hodel’s investigations, having read Book I, Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder in all of its foreign language translations. (French, Greek, Japanese, and Romanian.)

Full disclosure. Since I am a family member, many will consider my opinion biased; therefore, I took the liberty of asking several close friends of mine to also take an objective look.

First, I loaned my copy to, Miss Marple, a well-groomed and exceptionally bright little Basset Hound, who lives in the green-and-white townhouse at the end of our cul-de-sac. (The one with the red fire hydrant in front.) After her weekend read, I waited on the front porch, knowing her master would be taking her for their regular afternoon walk. Right on time, Monday at 3:05, “Missy” tail wagging in the warm sun, looked over, winked and blinked those sad brown eyes at me and barked out her critique, “Tell Mr. Hodel I am convinced his dad did all of them. But, I’d like to see a little more done on the overseas investigation.”

Wanting to be sure I wasn’t just chasing my tail, I then gave the book to Toby, a rather eccentric old Sod, who constantly reminds me he was almost accepted into the Baker Street Irregulars. (“Just missed it by a whisker, one vote short!”) Toby, a thespian, is half Spaniel and half-Lurcher and is now long retired from the Broadway Stage. He finished MOST EVIL in four hours, and just this morning, crawled through the hole in the backyard fence, sat in the shade of our flowering Kumquat tree and without even so much as a “May I?” chewed up the last three of my biscuit treats. Then, after a dramatic pause, he took three long licks of cool water. (A real tease. He knew full well that I was dying to hear his verdict.) Finally, sitting up high on his haunches with both forelegs extended and pretending to be a two-legged human, he gave me his best oriental squint and in perfect imitation of the film screen legend and Master Detective Charlie Chan, said:

“I’d say yes, but facts say maybe.”

For the next several hours, Toby detailed point-by-point all the compelling evidence and strengths of the case that, in the end, convinced him of the doctor’s guilt. Or, as he put it, “He’s treed the right Fox.”

So there it is. It’s a doggone good read and definitely something to bark about. FIVE PAWS way up for the sequel.five paws



  1. Sheila Trebbin on June 3, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I had the pleasure of knowing both Felix and Roscoe. Many did not know Felix was also a comedian and impersonator. In the photos above you will see a snapshot of him while appearing at the Comedy Club in Hollywood. He did a great Cowboy Jonathan Winters and a female version of Samuel Jackson.

    • Steve Hodel on June 3, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Sheila. Thanks for the contribution to their memories. They are missed. Steve

  2. Dennis Effle on June 4, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Roscoe is right up there next to Lassie and Rin Tin Tin in my book. RIP!

    • Steve Hodel on June 4, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      Hi Dennis: Yep. You got it right. And let’s add BUSTER the cadaver-sniffing canine in the mix to give us the Fearsome Foursome.
      Best, Steve

  3. Linda Whitman on June 5, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Thank you for your charming humor. It’s a nice light touch to balance out the heavy subject matter of your books. One of my favorite anecdotes in your writing is about Koko going to the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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