Tuesday, January 7, 2014

True Hollywood Noir by Dina Di Mambro

In True Hollywood Noir, Dina Di Mambro covers some of the most fascinating Hollywood deaths and mysteries, giving the facts of each case and offering alternative solutions.  Cases go back to the early days of Hollywood and then move through the decades, ending with some of the more recent mysteries with a Hollywood connection.

The cases are a Who's Who of Hollywood.  Cases include George Reeve's death (Superman), Natalie Wood, and Robert Blake's wife, Bonnie's death.  Other deaths include Gig Young, Bob Crane, Thelma Todd, William Desmond Taylor, Jean Harlow and Thomas H. Ince, who died at the estate of Randolph Hearst.  Other chapters detail mysterious deaths that affected Hollywood careers, such as Joan Bennett or Lana Turner and her involvement with Johnny Stompanato.

Each chapter describes the death, covers the news reporting of the event, then gives any alternate possibilities the author found.  One example is George Reeves.  Most Baby Boomers remember hearing that Superman committed suicide.  Di Mambro lays out the case that instead Reeves was very likely murdered, and gives the possible suspects. 

This book is recommended for true crime readers, and for those interested in Hollywood actors and actresses, especially in the early days when stars were treated like queens and kings.  The book is a quick summary of each case, but points the reader in the direction of cases where they may want to seek out longer works that cover the cases in more detail. 

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