In True Hollywood Noir, Dina DiMambro explores a number of, as the subtitle says, filmland mysteries and murders. Most of the cases were ones I was already familiar with such as Natalie Wood’s death and Robert Blake’s murder trial, but some I knew nothing about. Even though I’m a fan of Dark Shadows, I had no idea of the scandal that essentially forced Joan Bennett into television; it’s a story that’s detailed here. Some cases rely solely on previously reported information while DiMambro conducts her own interviews for others such as the chapter about Lana Turner. All of the cases selected are intriguing as suspicions remain about what the “true story” really is. I found it particularly interesting that the studio system played a big role in covering up facts in some of the early cases. Although True Hollywood Noir is compelling, the writing is not always eloquent. For example here’s a sentence from the chapter on Bob Crane, “The case was re-investigated just as though the homicide had just occurred.” The use of “just” twice in one sentence is distracting (and is a word that adds little value); plus, there are more than few run-on sentences.
Review copy provided by The Cadence Group.