On January 15, 1947, a woman walking with her daughter in a Los Angeles neighborhood passed what looked to be a discarded mannequin. It turned out to be the body of Elizabeth Short: posed, drained of blood, meticulously scrubbed, and cut in two. From this point, Geary reconstitutes and reveals for us the life of this 22-year-old woman who had become known as "Black Dahlia" because of her striking appearance. How could her life have ended in such a ghastly fashion? Was it a jealous boyfriend, a rejected suitor, or one of LA's notorious mafia members, with whom she had been connected? The case gets more complex when, days later, a local newspaper receives a cut-out letter from an anonymous "Black Dahlia Avenger" admitting to the crime.