NYT Book Review Finds New British Author's "Black Dahlia, Red Rose" Book "Salacious..and Less than Convincing," but Contains "Camera Ready Period Detail"

October 27, 2017
Los Angeles, California

“For all its salacious content, Eatwell’s historical crime study is an expansive work that delves into the broader culture of postwar Los Angeles… Her zealous efforts to solve the case and name the killer are less than convincing, but her immersive style is filled with camera-ready period detail.”

In the past several weeks I have received numerous inquiries from my readers asking, “Is it true? Has a new British author really solved the Black Dahlia Murder?

Short answer (pun intended) is NO.   But, I must give Ms. Eatwell’s London publishers total credit for their excellent choice of publishing dates–October 10th–which is the 110th Birthday of- Dr. George Hill Hodel.

As most of my readers know, I do not get into debates with other authors on “dueling theories.” I let my investigation speak for itself and for me. Also, I let the LA DA’s Office (Head DDA Steve Kay) and the LAPD (Deputy Chief of Detectives James McMurray) speak for me. Both of whom have independently, after a thorough review of my evidence along with the tape-recorded admissions and confessions from my father, concluded, “The Black Dahlia case is solved and Dr. George Hill Hodel committed the murder.”  (These modern day lawmen confirm the original top cops (Chief Bill Parker, Chief Thad Brown, Undersheriff James Downey and DA Lt. Frank Jemison’s) independent statements that they “identified the killer who was a doctor that lived on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood” and went on to name him in the secret DA Files as, Dr. George Hill Hodel.”

That said, I here refer you to my blog from September 24, 2017, “The Black Dahlia Leslie Dillon/Dr. Paul De River Fiasco-A Week of LAPD Fubar* (Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition). 

Both of Ms. Eatwell’s “suspects”, Leslie Dillon and Mark Hansen were independently and separately investigated by both the LAPD and the LADA Bureau of Investigation and ELIMINATED.  Leslie Dillon could not have killed Elizabeth Short as detectives in their follow-up investigation went to San Francisco and personally verified his alibi that he was in that city on the date of the Dahlia murder. (Apparently, in her book, which I haven’t read, Ms. Eatwell claims that Dillon was “a pimp and killed Short under orders from her former acquaintance and Florentine Gardens  nightclub owner, Mark Hansen.”)

Fact is Dillon was never a “pimp” nor had he ever met Mark Hansen. (I assume that this is part of what the NYT reviewer refer’s to as “Ms. Eatwell’s salacious content”?) At the time of Short’s murder, Mark Hansen and his girlfriend, Ann Toth, came forward to LAPD to provide background information on Elizabeth Short who had been a sometime resident at the Hansen’s home in Hollywood. During her short stay with the couple Short had taken (stolen) a blank address book belonging to Hansen which had his name engraved on the leather binding, and was later found in her personal luggage, and contained names of many of her personal acquaintances.





  1. r rowley on October 30, 2017 at 8:14 pm


    I think, in your first book (Black Dahlia Avenger) you touched ever-so-briefly on what I would call “the mystique of the unsolved/unsolvable case”, in this case the Black Dahlia Case.
    Since my first read of BDA I’ve gotten interested in the Jack the Ripper Case and it seems to me that novelist Patricia Cornwell, circa 2003, really did solve it, at least logically: It was painter Walter Sickert who committed those 5 canonical J the R murders as well as a number of others in
    both London and other parts of England. But there’s no sign of a broad acceptance of that solution either by ‘Ripperologists’ or by the media.

    Any thoughts on that?

    • steve hodel on October 30, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      Been a long time since I read the Cornwell book on Walter Sickert, but I do recall I was far from coming to a “beyond all reasonable doubt” verdict based on her findings. There is a massive amount of evidence that GHH was a Ripperologist in his own right and I will be presenting “new evidence” on that score in my upcoming revision of BDA II. No question he was a serious student of Saucy Jack. Best, steve

  2. Paul Boulet on December 9, 2017 at 4:47 pm


    I just completed Piu Eatwell’s book and found it very disappointing on many levels. I’ve only done cursory reading into the Dahlia case and noted many points she failed to consider. It makes her Leslie Dillon hypothesis very weak and shows a lack of comprehensive research (and personally, I can’t stand shoddy research especially when wrapped in the guise of “true crime”). Regardless, she spends a short time dismissing your father as a suspect (in fact saying that he was a “distraction” to the more viable investigation).

    She fails to give the source but states, “Moreover, he [George Hodel] had returned from China in September 1946 because he had suffered a serious heart attack. He had spent September and October in the hospital. It was highly implausible the he would have had the strength to carry out the Dahila murder.” pg. 244

    Her conclusion is problematic at face value but I can’t say that I’d heard of this hospital stay before. Are you aware of the specifics of this incident? Forgive me if I somehow missed it somewhere along the way. Thank you in advance, -Paul

    • Steve Hodel on December 9, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Paul B: “Her claim that he “suffered a serious heart attack and was hospitalized for several months” if made is completely untrue. He was hospitalized for a short time and while I initially thought it might be “heart-related” his wife June later informed me that it was either a “touch of malaria” or mono, which lasted days, not months. GHH had Rhuematic Fever as a child which affected his heart, but as we see on his UNRRA application “it is not debilitating in any way.” Would he have had the strength to hold a scalpel in his hand and surgically perform a hemicorpectomy operation and bisect a drugged and unconscious female? Most Certainly.
      The DeRiver’s/Dillon Fiasco was not an “official LAPD and Grand Jury Investigation”. Dr. DeRiver’s without the knowledge or consent of the LAPD or DA’s Office went to the back door of the Grand Jury and knocked and asked that they would listen to a theory he had developed about a suspect (Dillon) that had approached him and seemingly “knew too much”. All BS. Dillon was the fourth “suspect” in a decade that DeRiver had wrongfully accused of being a killer. One, a child who he interviewed and then claimed had murdered her mother who was shortly proved to be innocent was so far off base that a Superior Court Judge gave a standing order that “Dr. DeRiver’s henceforth is prohibited from ever interviewing any minor child in any future investigations.” The Dillon/De River’s case is just the tip of the iceberg as relates to DeRiver’s false claims, but too much to detail here. Regards, Steve

  3. Paul on December 25, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I just finished reading the book and I am amazed anyone could believe that whoever committed the murder (allegedly Dillon) could then lead a quiet life for almost 40 years until their death. It’s my belief that the person who killed Elizabeth Short would have continued killing until caught of killed and most likely killed before.

    I am dubious about GHH and the Zodiac case but I 100% believe he is the best suspect for the Dahlia killing.

    • Steve Hodel on December 25, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      Paul: Many individuals who have not read the sequels Most Evil and Most Evil II find it difficult to believe that GHH could have reinvented himself in the Sixties as “Zodiac”. Quite understandable. Most individuals that have read Most Evil and Most Evil II find it compelling and convincing. Regards, Steve H.

      • Paul on December 28, 2017 at 12:19 pm

        Admittedly I have not read Most Evil I or II but I will do so with an open mind. I appreciate you being responsive and available to your fans.

        I consider Black Dahlia Avenger to be one of the all time great true crime books and one of the very few that actually offer new information and actual closure.

  4. Brian hacket on March 18, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Well, Mr. Hodel, although I agree with your assertion that Leslie Dillon and Mark Hanson were independently investigate and cleared for the murder, so was Dr. George hodel. The end of the police transcripts regarding your father declare that, “evidence gathered tends to eliminate this suspect.” Just be balanced in your critique of others. I think Mrs. Eatwells book is pure fiction, but this case is not not solved. Others have access to the same information and have reached far different conclusions.

    • Steve Hodel on March 18, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      Well, Mr. Hacket, I agree with your assertion that “Mrs. Eatwells book is pure fiction” but would disagree with your use of the word “cleared.” Lt. Jemison’s careful wording as you point out was, “tend [emphasis mine]to eliminate the suspect.” Keep in mind he was ordered by his superior to “close out the case and return it to LAPD and promise never to attempt any further investigation.” Further, nowhere else in his reports does he use the word “tend”, just with Dr. Hodel.
      Lt. Jemison a few years later, along with LAPD Chiefs Bill Parker and Thad Brown and Undersheriff James Downey all independently state, “The case was solved[emphasis mine] and all identify Dr. George Hill Hodel as the doctor known to have killed her.

      If you have read both BDA (2015 updated ed.) and BDA II (2014) be happy to hear any specific evidence you find that prevents what I and many others (including Head DDA Steve Kay and then active LAPD Chief of Detectives James McMurray) consider “solved” and meet the legal requirement, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Best Regards, skh.

  5. Sharon on June 22, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Funny how Piu Eatwell manages to look at the LAPD and LA DA files and come to the conclusion that Dillon and Hansen and whoever else did it. The LAPD has only publicly released about 50 pages. I understand there’s more than 4000 pages related to Leslie Dillon and the embarrassing blunder by the Gangster Squad. Piu did not have access to that. As for the LA DA files, nothing in them point to Hansen or Dillon. Anyone can see that by reviewing those publicly available files. Eatwell makes a big deal that she “unredacted” the FBI files. Well, they show nothing other than some personal details like addresses, etc of the suspects/witnesses.

    Thanks for the insight. De River, according to the DA files, was a fiasco. And the DA’s office practically issued an apology for the Gangster Squad’s blunder! Amazing that NBC is buying this for a doc. They need to talk to people like you to get that they’ve been duped.

    • Steve Hodel on June 22, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      Sharon: Yes, they go for the sensational with no more or very little fact checking. What can you do when we live in a “fake news” world. The BS Zodiac story by Stewart has also been optioned for television. By example both my and Ellroy’s fictional “Black Dahlia” were optioned and which got made? The fictional account that had nothing to do with the real crime and with the Dahlia as a lesbian of course. All Ellroy had to do was “apologize” for trashing the victim in the updated print version in 2006 and “good to go.” Cst La Vie.

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