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Episodes
  • Jan 12 2022
    In 1947, a young woman named Elizabeth Short was murdered in Los Angeles. The killer bisected her body and placed it on the side of a busy street six miles southwest of downtown. The LAPD questioned an endless line of suspects, some of whom claimed to be the killer. But none proved to know certain critical details about the crime scene. Desperate for a lead, a rogue LAPD team even kidnapped a suspect from Florida and interrogated him to no avail. Police could not identify the killer.

    Fast forward 75 years.

    Former CIA case officer Douglas Laux boards a bus in Los Angeles for the Black Dahlia tour. Doug, in his early 30s, is whisked to locations around LA related to Elizabeth Short’s murder. He knows virtually nothing about her case. He also isn’t sure why Short’s identity and name have been replaced by a mostly fictional Hollywood narrative of a tragic ingenue called the Black Dahlia who was murdered after visiting the Biltmore Hotel. But the fact that an unsolved murder from 1947 is still popular enough to support its own bus tour tells him there may be a lot of conflicting history to uncover. He’s surprised to discover that there are still many passionately argued different theories about who killed Elizabeth Short. But only one theory can be right, or they are all wrong. Doug decides to find out.

    Like many before him, Doug becomes fixated on the case. For eight years he leverages his CIA skillset to try and solve the Black Dahlia murder. Now, he believes he has.
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    Less than 1 minute
  • Jan 13 2022
    When former CIA case officer Douglas Laux takes a Hollywood bus tour about the unsolved 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, aka the Black Dahlia, he knows virtually nothing about the victim, the crime, and the investigation. But when Doug learns just how many different theories there are about who did it, he decides to leverage his CIA skillset to try and solve it once and for all. The first person Doug seeks out is former LAPD detective, Steve Hodel, whose scandalous and personal theory about the case has become a Hollywood sensation.
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    46 mins
  • Jan 13 2022

    Doug and Steve Hodel meet in Griffith Park near the infamous Sowden House, Steve’s childhood home and where he believes Elizabeth Short was murdered in the basement. Steve shares a wealth of information with Doug. In spite of some loose ends and question marks in the decades old case, Doug finds the retired LAPD detective’s story believable, if not entirely verifiable. It seems clear to Doug that no one knows more about this case than Steve Hodel, until Doug talks with former LA Times reporter, Larry Harnisch, who is ready to blow a hole right through Steve’s theories.

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    25 mins

Go Behind the Scenes of Solving the Black Dahlia

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About the Creator, Writer, and Performer

Douglas Laux is a former case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, having served undercover in the Middle East and Afghanistan for seven years. Upon leaving the CIA, Doug wrote The New York Times best-selling memoir, Left of Boom, about his experience as a CIA officer in the trenches of the "war on terror," building sources within the Taliban and al Qaeda and uncovering the largest IED network in the world. Doug is fluent in Pashto and speaks Japanese and Spanish. Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden have recognized him for his service. Doug is a creator, executive producer, and on camera investigator in the TV documentary series Finding Escobar's Millions.

About the Executive Producer and Editor

Heather J. Miller is a seasoned writer and producer for audio, scripted and non-fiction shows like Booze Traveler, Deadliest Catch, Hell’s Kitchen, and Exposure on Hulu. She’s a voracious student of the human condition and classically trained vocalist and artist most recently seen at Los Angeles's Eli and Edythe Broad Stage. A native of Houston Texas, Heather now resides in Santa Monica, CA.

About the Executive Producer and Editor

Peter McDonnell is a creator and writer of The New York Times bestseller Evil Has a Name, as well as Call Me God, selected as one of Audible’s Top 10 Listens of 2019, Shootout, Brooklyn North, The Riddle of Emmon Bodfish, A Devil in the Valley, and After the Fall. He’s a co-executive producer of the Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary series Pandemic and the NBC documentary series The Forgotten West Memphis Three. Peter runs the audio department at XG Productions. He’s a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has an MFA from Oregon State University, where he also taught writing. A native of St. Louis, he lives in Los Angeles.

This has been Solving the Black Dahlia.
Created, written, and narrated by Douglas Laux
Executive Produced by Douglas Laux, Heather J. Miller, and Peter McDonnell
Edited by, Heather J. Miller, Peter McDonnell, and Andrea Bruce
Assistant Producer: Sydney Sidell
Dialogue Editing, Sound Design, Mixed, and Mastered by Matt Gurgol
Executive Producers for XG Productions: Spencer Gordon and Peter Clemente
Produced by XG Productions

Dear Listener,

What makes my story about this infamous case different, and what do I hope listeners will take away from it?
"It was never my intention to solve the Black Dahlia murder. Instead, my initial interest in the case was based upon the fact that in the 75 years since the murder occurred, so many people have come forward, confident that they had solved it. My story is distinctly different because mine is an investigation of all the previous theories and based on one simple premise: only one of the theories can be right, or else they are all wrong. This led me on an exhaustive, eight-year deep-dive into the case. I researched everything from Black Dahlia autopsy reports to suspect handwriting samples. I conducted interviews with the leading experts on the murder and explored our cultural fascination with the horrific crime. I hope listeners will appreciate the level of research that went into my investigation, but mainly I hope they remember that the Black Dahlia was a young woman who had a life, certainly had a future, and had a real name: Elizabeth Short." – Douglas Laux, writer of Solving the Black Dahlia

What listeners say about Solving the Black Dahlia

Average Customer Ratings
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Excellent in all Ways

This was an excellent investigation and analysis of this Cold Case as well as how we must at times be satisfied with knowing only as much as we do.

8 people found this helpful

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Black Dahlia. Douglas Laux

Fantastic and well written Narrator did an excellent job as well as the author. Sure did keep your interest through each episode. I’m going to listen to it again!

6 people found this helpful

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SO MUCH SPECULATION

Save your time! The only new info was total speculation. I couldn't roll my eyes enough.. I feel bad for the deceased surgeon and his family, who are now targeted with literally no valid evidence. So many weak and lame conclusions!!

6 people found this helpful

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Lots of holes

I think this podcast could have been longer and more detailed. It seems that the author was a caught in between a pissing contest between two theories. And to the outsider… it seems that there was a childish journalist who got his ego bruised and posited no evidence for his theories other than … Hodel’s an idiot.

Now, I don’t subscribe that Hodel is Beth’s killer, I do find it hard that *spoiler name withheld* did it either while suffering from his condition… they would have lost the skills required to accomplish the murder and setup of the secondary scene when dealing with Encephalomalacia. And the lack of any evidence (from this podcast) of sexual deviance and the nature of the crime just doesn’t jive.

It may be an issue of editing. But it seemed like a lot was left out that may have supported this conclusion. I’m not convinced…

6 people found this helpful

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Very Fascinating! Finding Clues

Such a Difficult Case to Crack from so Long Ago. So complicated, along with it being so old. Very good narration and story. Thank you.

3 people found this helpful

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What?!

The first five episodes are nicely done and present the case from several angles. However, the last episode and the final “reveal” of who the host suspects murdered Elizabeth Short was SUCH a let-down. I literally yelled out loud, “What?!” about 5 times throughout the episode. I won’t spoil it, but they literally pull this guy’s name out of a hat, and the reasons they give for his presumed guilt are actually laughable. He lived nearby and he was a surgeon. Oh and by the way, he had dementia but was still “highly skilled” and able to pull off the most macabrely detailed murder and dismemberment of all time. It doesn’t add up and the evidence they present for their conclusion is paper thin. If I was that guy’s family, I’d be pissed.

2 people found this helpful

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A journey of the evidence

Excellent telling of this investigative process of one of the most shocking and intriguing murder mysteries of all time. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting theory of who may be the actual killer

Well researched by someone not connected to the case but has a background to be credible. Six part podcast was worth the listen.

1 person found this helpful

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nice pod cast

really well written and preformed. Enjoyed very much, look forward to more offerings from Douglas Laux

1 person found this helpful

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At loss of words

"Evil is banal"
this case will for sure stick with me for a lifetime, thanks to this podcast

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shaun V. Hewitt
  • 01-17-22

Big claims, doesn't deliver.

The blurb for this podcast states 'For eight years he leverages his CIA skillset to try and solve the Black Dahlia murder. Now, he believes he has.' If that means that the writer has read some books and now talks about them, that is correct, but if you imagine that Lax has done any original research of his own, you will be sadly disappointed.
It starts with him meeting Steve Hodel and completely falling for Hodel's belief that his father murdered Elizabeth Short. It then moves on to Lax meeting Larry Harnisch, who has another theory, and thoroughly dislikes Steve Hodel. Lax now believes Harnisch and doesn't believe Hodel. Harnisch knows who killed Elizabeth, but won't say.
In the last episode Harnisch reveals the name of who he think did the awful crime, a surgeon who lived near where Elizabeth's body was found. Absolutely no proof, just a few coincidences, it feels as though this mans name has been picked out of a hat. The family descendants of this man are now living with the cloud of suspicion that their heretofore loving father and grandfather was in fact the most evil sadistic perverted murderer of all time!!!
Avoid this podcast, I wish I had.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Lee
  • 01-20-22

Talk about false advertising...

This was such a waste of time. Anyone who watched the BBC Arena James Ellroy doc 'Feast of Death' will have heard this other name mentioned back in in 2001.

Are they a likely suspect? Absolutely - but it isn't new and, with zero evidence provided, it certainly isn't solving anything.

7 people found this helpful

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  • M. Bourke
  • 01-22-22

just awful truly awful

this " story" is all about the author and wierd feuds that are of no interest to anyone.
truly awful

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-12-22

Sensationalist

Started off promising an in depth investigation only to turn into sensational evidence based on hearsay, a conspiracy theory at best.

2 people found this helpful

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  • K. Williams
  • 03-07-22

Nothing to bring to the tragic mystery

Disappointing. It didn't give the victim a voice or illuminate her in any way. It debunked a couple of theories, that weren't very credible anyway. Big reveal a doctor lived in the neighbourhood. It was over dramatic and offered very little.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fiona S
  • 01-25-22

Fascinating

I disagree with the other reviews & can't understand why they're so negative (the actual reviews, not the ratings). I really enjoyed this podcast, sad & horrific as the case was and found it really interesting.
I did know a little bit about the case but found the research & interviews the author had done very enlightening. It was done very respectfully too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Phoebe vW
  • 05-06-22

Disappointing

After each of the first episodes, I was left confused and thinking I must have missed the actual point. Then the last episode gave the "resolution" and the former episodes felt as if they had been merely filler.. The "facts" were no more convincing than the theories discarded during the series and sadly did not warrant the optimistic title.
For the amount of times Mr Laux said Elizabeth was forgotten and only the Black Dahlia remembered, he missed the perfect opportunity to tell is who she was and how she should be remembered.

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  • PaddyM
  • 04-15-22

Mesmerisingly Methodical!

An absolutely phenomenal piece of work by Douglas Laux and obviously a labor of love. Douglas leaves no stone unturned (well…what stones there *are* still available to turn, he certainly lifts and looks under here). His methodical approach to this infamous murder that still shocks almost a century later is to be admired, and if anything was needed to be said to back-up just how good his work is in this regard, it is neither sensationalist or economical with the facts, as such I feel it can proudly stand as a testament to Elizabeth Short - which is certainly something that no other previously published work on this awful incident can claim - well-intentioned or not.

I guarantee you’ll be hard-pressed not to binge your way thru this in one sitting, it’s THAT good - if you’re looking for a 21st Century Digital Gumshoe, Douglas Laux is your guy!

Five stars from me all down the line.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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  • K8
  • 04-01-22

Good listen

this is very interesting. Lots of information about the case.
I had heard of the black dalia before but didn't know the details

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  • Chrissie Ann
  • 01-29-22

Muddled

Found this a muddled rendering of the terrible Black Dahlia incident. No logic used, no explanation oof anything.

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  • Ishy Neville
  • 04-10-22

Falls Short for Elisabeth

A great study of confirmation bias with 3 out of 4 investigators picking a suspect and trying to shoehorn the remnants of evidence into their hypothesis.
For something that claims to be looking for the victim more than the culprit, very little is said about ms Short.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-22

Great Story & Well Told by Various Experts

I'll be upfront, this book claims to have solved the dahlia murder BUT I haven't listened to it all yet, but it has various experts with their voices....I'm drawn in and upto Chapter 2!
Plus it's a FREE Audiobook (Thanks MCRO.cc Public Links for the URL I found this)