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Childhood Shadows
The Hidden Story of the Black Dahlia Murder

When Mary Pacios first contacted me to relay her manuscript was nearly complete, and asked if I was interested in receiving an advance copy, I immediately responded: yes! Deep down I hoped this would not be another synopsis of "and the killer is…"

While Ms. Pacios does present a new theorized suspect, it's not the total focus of the book, which is to be released also in electronic format. But the "suspect" she does present, will be a shock to many - if not only for his name, but also for many revelations about his life that only recently surfaced to the public.

Who did kill Beth Short? It's a question many have asked for more than half a century. Don't expect Childhood Shadows to lay to rest all the questions about the murder of a 22-year-old actress wannabe. But do expect to be enlightened more about Beth's life.

Ms. Pacios called her Bette, as did many in those days. To some she is Elizabeth, Beth, or Betty. While we may not all agree on a name, we agree on the face, both before and after her death. It's a face that has haunted many, and Ms. Pacios admits that her 12-year walk into the past has indeed haunted herself many a night.

Childhood Shadows begins as a story about who Beth Short was - where she lived, how she interacted with other children (many of those younger than herself), how she caught the eye of several men, and carried most of them in a trance. Statements that the victim was a tease aren't argued in the book; accusations that she was a whore are emphatically defended.

There are actually three stories encompassed in this manuscript. The first details Ms. Pacios memories about a beautiful young lady who befriended little Mary, and taught her to be "street smart" during the WWII Era. The second presents interviews with about a score of people, both those who knew Beth as a person, and those who knew her only as a victim. The third, which did come as a surprise, discusses the violent life of a well-known Hollywood icon, and it's up to the reader to decide if the information presented could be considered evidence or just mere coincidence.

Ms. Pacios does go into detail not only with conversations with Det. John "Jigsaw" St. John and other investigators, reporters and researchers, but also with those of John Gilmore while she assisted him in the work on Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder, and Janice Knowlton, who claims her own father murdered Beth Short.

Ms. Pacios' delving into the files available to her in regard to the murder shows she has attempted not to leave stones unturned, revealing some tidbits of information that have remained to be seen in other publications. It's clear her goal was and is to present Beth Short in a good light, and to hopefully find a way for the Black Dahlia case to be labeled CLOSED.

Childhood Shadows is well written and well documented. A complete bibliography, which includes books, magazine and newspaper articles, web sites and film and video is a long enough list to leave any researcher busy for months.

The book is not one to be taken lightly and should play a role in the urge for many readers to track more information about the infamous Black Dahlia case altogether. Regardless if its readers accept the details imposed as fact or fiction, Childhood Shadows does present a viewpoint that have not been totally presented before: Beth Short now has really become a person who was victimized, as those who remember her detail accounts of the little life she had to live.

Childhood Shadows is now available for download purchase at 1stBooks.com

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The Black Dahlia Web Site is © Pamela Hazelton. All Rights Reserved. Last update: October 6, 1999.