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The Black Dahlia Summary

Home > Movies > B > Black Dahlia, The > Summary

Elizabeth "Betty" Short, a 22-year-old aspiring actress from the East Coast who wore a delicate flower in her raven hair and became many things to many people--dear friend, beloved sister, estranged daughter, frequent girlfriend and accused prostitute. On January 15, 1947, she was discovered brutally splayed in a vacant lot near Leimert Park in downtown Los Angeles. Enter onto the scene two ex-pugilist police officers, Lee Blanchard and Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert, the poster boys for 1940s LAPD. The new partners' first homicide case starts with a call from their supervisor, Detective Millard, to investigate the slaying of the ambitious silver screen B-lister Betty Short, just as they leave a deadly shootout. Blanchard and Bleichert, like the rest of the fascinated city, become drawn into the lurid world of the Dahlia's L.A. While Blanchard's growing preoccupation with the Dahlia's murder threatens his relationship with girlfriend Kay Lake, Bleichert finds himself irresistibly drawn to the enigmatic Madeleine Linscott, the daughter of one of the city's most prominent families--who just happens to have an unsavory connection (and resemblance) to the Dahlia. Blanchard spins into obsession trying to solve the case, seeing in Betty the chance to redeem himself for letting down the other women in his life that he failed to protect. Bleichert, too, begins to question his own footing as his feelings fluctuate wildly between two disparate dames: the seemingly innocent Kay and the knowingly seductive Madeleine--whose unhinged mother, Ramona, proves to hold more than a passing clue to the mystery. Determined to be famous, destined to be infamous, Betty Short affected more lives dead than she could possibly alive. She dreamed of being photographed for the big screen but wound up the pin-up girl of tabloid autopsy photos.