James Ellroy (b. 1948, Los Angeles, California, USA)

Written by James Ellroy

White Jazz, 1992

Dear LAPD:

Recently, three wino bums were found strangled and mutilated in abandoned houses in the Hollywood area. Very Hush-Hush: we’ve heard the still-at-large killer snapped their windpipes post-mortem, utilizing great strength. The press has paid these heinously horrific killings scant attention; only the sin-sation slanted L.A. Mirror seems to care that three Los Angeles citizens have met such nauseatingly nasty nadirs. The LAPD’s Homicide Division has not been called in to investigate; so far only two Hollywood Division detectives are working the case. Hepcats, it’s the pedigree of the victims that determine the juice of investigation—and if three squarejohn citizens got choked by a neck-snapping psychopath, then LAPD Chief of Detectives Edmund J. Exley would waste no time mounting a full scale investigation. Often it takes a catchy tag name to bring dirty criminal business into the public’s consciousness and thus create a clamor for justice. Hush-Hush hereby names this anonymous killer fiend the “Wino Will-o-the-Wisp” and petitions the LAPD to find him and set him up with a hot date in San Quentin’s green room. They cook with gas there, and this killer deserves a fourburner cookout.

Watch for future updates on the Wino Will-othe-Wisp, and remember you heard it first here: off the record, on the Q.T. and very Hush-Hush.


© 1992 James Ellroy; New York: Alfred A. Knopf

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