Author Night Tonight with Steve Hodel

May 19, 2011

Is it possible that South Pasadena was home to one of the most infamous killers of the 20th Century? Retired LAPD Homicide Detective and New York Times bestselling author Steve Hodel thinks so … and his evidence is extremely compelling.

Tonight at 7:00PM, the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room hosts an encore Author Night with Hodel, author of Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder. Hodel captivated a library audience back in 2008 when he revealed evidence that his very own father Dr. George Hodel was the 1947 Black Dahlia murderer.

On January 15, 1947, the body of 22 year old Elizabeth Short — later nicknamed the Black Dahlia — was found mutilated, bisected at the waist, drained of all blood and posed in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The crime made headlines for months as the killer taunted the police with numerous phone calls and cryptic notes. Despite a huge manhunt, the Black Dahlia case remained one of the most notorious and high-profile unsolved crimes of the 20th century.

Tonight, Hodel returns with his follow-up book Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac, and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hodel. Hodel has uncovered stunning forensic, visual and circumstantial evidence that his father was most likely “The Zodiac” serial killer who terrorized California in the late 60s and 70s with a bizarre series of murders.

George Hodel was born in 1907 and grew up in a house on South Pasadena’s Monterey Road. As a child musical prodigy he was visited by Rachmaninoff. He was declared a child genius after scoring 186 on an IQ test. (Einstein himself scored 185.) At 14, George graduated from South Pasadena High School. He breezed through Cal Tech and became a notable Hollywood physician — hobnobbing with the glitterati and making a name for himself among Los Angeles’ upper crust.

In 1949, as the LAPD began investigating the Black Dahlia murder, Hodel abruptly moved to the Philippines. He returned to the United States in the late 60s, settling down in Northern California. He died in 1999.

Steve Hodel spent 24 years as a homicide detective with the LAPD. He earned one of the highest solve rates in the department. Suffice it to say, his shocking discovery is fascinating as well as horrifying.

Author Night is free to the public, presented by the library and Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library. The Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street and no tickets or reservations are necessary. Refreshments will be provided and signed hardback copies of Most Evil will be available for only $10.

(I continue my week of iPhone shots with this spooky one, processed with the Plastic Bullet app.)

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