The Beverly Hills Police Department has opened its photo and case files to the authors of the newest book from Angel City Press — Beverly Hills Confidential: A Century of Stars, Scandals and Murders. It's what it sounds like, only authorized. The city's chief of police, Dave Snowden, introduced the book today at a launch party at Greystone Mansion, site of one of the crimes detailed in text and pictures: the 1929 shootings of the mansion's owner, oil empire heir Ned Doheny, and his aide, possibly his lover, Hugh Plunkett. There are theories both that Doheny killed Plunkett then himself, or that Plunkett did the shooting, but the mystery long ago entered the lore of Beverly Hills and of Los Angeles, where Doheny's father Edward was the king of oil wells for awhile. Officially the case remains open and unsolved case, the chief said Sunday.
The book is by Clark Fogg, a forensic specialist in the Beverly Hills police crime lab, and writer Barbara Schroeder, a former reporter and anchor for KTTV Channel 11 and "Extra." The book, designed by Hilary Lentini, includes plenty of bloody crime scene images — including the bodies of 1940s mobster Bugsy Siegel, murder victims Kitty and Jose Menendez (shot to death by their sons Lyle and Erik in 1989) and Harold Smith, the transient who killed Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen in 2010.
Here's a video teaser for the book:
Noted: The Greystone Mansion estate, now a city of Beverly Hills park, has been used in numerous movies, including "There Will Be Blood" — which some say could have been partly based on old man Doheny — "The Big Lebowski" and more recently "The Social Network" Some of the original estate grounds were subdivided for development of Trousdale Estates, but a lot remain.
Further noted: Angel City is the publisher of my Wilshire Boulevard book.
Fixed: Name of "There Will Be Blood"