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Daddy was the Black Dahlia Killer    by Janice Knowlton & Michael Newton order for
Daddy was the Black Dahlia Killer
by Janice Knowlton
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 1995 (1995)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Reading this book is a horrifying reminder that there are evil people out there. Could be your next door neighbor, God forbid. Daddy, George Knowlton, was apparently raised by a mother with a penchant for downright meanness. She taunted her children and forced sadistic punishments on them. One wonders what her forbears were like, given that abusees often become abusers. At any rate, Janice Knowlton, George's oldest child, tells us that she spent her whole life until his death trying to please Daddy. She managed to suppress his physical, sexual and emotional abuse. According to Knowlton, this repressed memory was finally triggered. Little by little, events surfaced that should have driven her mad or to suicide if she had not been able to 'go away to another place' while the abuse was rained upon her.

In 1947, Elizabeth Short's body was discovered. Horribly mutilated and cut in two, her corpse had been thrown onto a weedy lot to await discovery. Short's affectation of wearing black clothes earned her the title of 'Black Dahlia.' Her murder was a subject of discussion and speculation for a number of years. Janice now informs us that she remembers watching her father sever Elizabeth's body in two - as well as witnessing other brutal and sadistic murders. Her book takes readers on a journey into a world different than you or I inhabit. The twisted mind that could inflict such torture on a child is beyond my ken. The book also delves into the news media and the police procedures of that time. To this day, the files on the Black Dahlia's death are closed although the case has never been officially solved.

This true crime history of maladjusted people is hard to read but impossible to put down. May Janice Knowlton find some peace in a life that was doomed to pain at its very inception.

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