Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Exquisite Corpse
Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder

by Mark Nelson and Sarah Hudson Bayliss

      On January 15, 1947, the body of Elizabeth Short was found in Los Angles, brutally murdered. Her body was bisected and carefully posed with very carefully geometric sections of the body removed. Elizabeth Short was a beautiful woman and was said to have left an Exquisite Corpse.

In the course of the investigation, there were over 300 suspects and later over a dozen confessions. Many of the suspects had ties to the Los Angeles arts community and to each other. In spite of all this, no one was ever charged and the murder now known as "The Black Dahlia" murder was never solved.

In recent years there have been strong accusations that a photographer, George Hodel was the murderer and used the Black Dahlia as a real life canvass to one up some of his art friends, Man Ray being the main one, with influences also by Salvador Dali and Max Ernst. This accusation was made by Hodelís son.

The authors of Exquisite Corpse, Mark Nelson and Sarah Bayliss, use their expertise to show the possibilities of these accusations. Sarah Bayliss is a writer on art and culture, being well published and Mark Nelson is a design director in New York City where has worked with many museums and galleries.

The book is well put together, with 149 black and white and full color illustrations. Some of the art the surrealists were doing at the time was eerily similar to the crime scene photos of Elizabeth Short. This gives the reader something to think about.

The Book

Bullfinch Press
September 18th, 2006
The Arts/Photography/ True Crime
More at
NOTE: Explicit Artwork

The Reviewer

Susan Johnson
Reviewed 2006
© 2006