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Childhood Shadows: The Hidden Story of the Black Dahlia Murder

4.2 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1585004843
ISBN-10: 1585004847
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Adeline Pacios, born and raised in Medford, Massachusetts, was a neighbor and friend of murder victim Elizabeth Short for ten years. Pacios' personal connection to Elizabeth Short has enabled her to focus with remarkable insight into the life, as well as the sensational death, of one of the most publicized and puzzled-over victims of the 20th century. Pacios, an accomplished artist and writer with a special interest in urban affairs and history, has written and edited essays, reports, and technical papers dealing with environmental issues, social change, contemporary printmaking, African art, and German Expressionism. For a U.S. edition, Ms. Pacios 'translated' The Complete Manual of Relief Printing (Dorling Kindersley, 1988) from British English to American English. She also edited the hilarious autobiography of underground filmmakers George and Mike Kuchar, Reflections from a Cinematic Cesspool. Pacios, a prize-winning painter and printmaker with an extensive international exhibition record, has lectured and demonstrated her printmaking techniques on college campuses. Her art work, has been shown in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and is included in prestigious public and private art collections. As an artist, she brings to this reconsideration of an infamous crime an unusual aptitude for detailed appraisal.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585004847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585004843
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you have any interest whatsoever in the infamous Black Dahlia murder case, Mary Pacios' Childhood Shadows is a must-read. I've already read it twice and I am certain to read it again. It contains information I've never seen in other books on this strange and unsolved case.
The author knew the victim, Beth Short, personally while growing up in Medford, Massachusetts in the '30's and '40's. This provides the reader with insights sorely lacking in other well-known books on the subject.
Pacios' book shows a woman trying hard to stay afloat during difficult times - not a whore, harlot, or wayward sister who brought upon her own destruction with dangerous behavior, but a kind woman whose murder, along with the press' sensational tabloid style coverage, had a painful and lasting affect on those who knew and loved her.
The book is packed with valuable firsthand information including accounts from the Black Dahlia's friends and family, as well as detectives, press, and experts who worked on the case. This book presents Beth Short as a real human being, not the archetypical dark, mysterious woman of the shadows presented in press and past books.
This book rings true - the author never offers conjecture; she never says, "This is who the killer is and this is how it happened!" She presents the results of 10 years of painstaking research, having interviewed numerous individuals associated with the case. And that research leads the author to a shocking, yet very plausible suspect (the most plausible of all the suspects I've read about). What makes the suspect so shocking is the fact that it is a very well-known Hollywood personality.
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Format: Paperback
I've read other accounts of the Black Dahlia murders by other authors, but Pacios seems to be uniquely in touch with Elizabeth. The 40s come alive and Elizabeth becomes a real person in this book. The story is told with a passion and an understanding fueled by the author's own search for the truth. This book is a must read for any one who is interested in the murder, because you don't know whole story until you've read this book. I felt that Pacios effectively conveyed a much needed feminine perspective to a subject which previously languished under the pens of cumbersome men. I look forward to the author's next book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is all about setting the story straight and getting real about what actually happened to a girl who wasn't just victimized by a killer, but by a tainted press and crazy authors, and all the people who fed on and feed off the publicized slander and trash. It's about time. A personal thanks to the author for entering a clean perspective to this case.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally a book that looks at Elizabeth Short, the person, and not just Elizabeth Short, the victim. Mary Pacios gives a personal account of her relationship with "Bette", her research into Bette's death and her 12 year search for answers. Brings to light things I have never read in any other book. Pacios presents her own suspect in the case. At first her suspect may sound far fetched, but by the end of the book, the suspect is really only one of two viable suspects that I have seen in the case. READ THIS BOOK! Also recommended, "Severed" by John Gilmore.
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Format: Paperback
This is a deeply personal look at a much discussed and misunderstood crime, from someone who knew the deceased as a person, not a distorted image or a victim. The author's loyal friendship and sometimes painfully honest search for truth is a breath of fresh air in a media driven, often heartless, real-life mystery. The crisp writing style moves the reader along effortlessly and gives one a lot to think about!
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By A Customer on March 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I found Ms. Pacios authoritative research into the notorious Black Dahlia murder investigation a refreshing change from the the usual carnival atmosphere of most other author/barkers trying to hawk their theories on the reading public over the past fifty years! She is authoritative, objective, and at the same time warm and sympathetic, which make for admiral writing qualities. Its a very good read, and while she points out some interesting points regarding a possible suspect,she yet retains her own personal skepticism and never becomes theoretically pushy, leaving the reader to come to his/her own conclusions. Extremely well documented!
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Format: Paperback
I didn't think another book besides John Gilmore's "Severed" would ever catch my attention, but Ms. Pacios'"Childhood Shadows" really grabbed me. I am glad someone who had known Ms. Short finally wrote a book. Unfortunately popular legend has us believe she was wild and almost deserved her horrible death. Ms. Pacios explains the time and era of Ms. Short and how she had to depend on her wits for survival. After WWII women were told to marry their war time sweethearts, quit the factory jobs and keep house. Beth Short was alone and independent, not wild and loose. I think maybe with this book some of those false conceptions will be addressed. Also, Ms. Pacios theory on what may have happened to Ms. Short is amazing...makes one think.
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