My Dark Places

Autobiography by James Ellroy


My Dark Places: An L.A. Crime Memoir is a 1996 book, part investigative journalism and part memoir, by American crime-fiction writer James Ellroy. Ellroy's mother Geneva was murdered in 1958, when he was 10 years old, and the killer was never identified. The book is Ellroy's account of his attempt to solve the mystery by hiring a retired Los Angeles County homicide detective to investigate the crime. Ellroy also explores how being directly affected by a crime shaped his life - often for the worse - and led him to write crime novels. Ellroy dedicated My Dark Places "TO HELEN KNODE."
Geneva Ellroy's strangled body was found by a roadside in El Monte, California. She was found by children in Babe Ruth baseball and their coaches on June 22, 1958. The road lay beside the playing field at Arroyo High School. Officers from the El Monte city police department handed over the investigation to the L.A. Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. They chased down leads gathered from the scene and from anonymous tips sent in by area citizens. Newspaper accounts about the murder were scarce, as well as the television news accounts.

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