Perfidia – A Web of Connections

Posted: January 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

Thoughts on James Ellroy’s masterwork Perfidia by Ellroy expert Steve Powell

The Venetian Vase

PerfidiaIn Exquisite Corpse: Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder (2006) Mark Nelson and Sarah Hudson Bayliss created a highly impressive chart they titled ‘Los Angeles 1935-1950: A Web of Connections’ which ‘situates Black Dahlia murder suspect George Hodel within the culturally elite circles of Los Angeles at the time of the murder and illustrates the close geographical proximity of the central characters in our book.’

After completing my second reading of James Ellroy’s Perfidia, I’m beginning to see more clearly how Ellroy has devised his own web of connections within his body of work as a crime novelist. Nelson and Bayliss explored the potential connections of figures such as Man Ray and John Huston to the Black Dahlia case, building upon the work of former LAPD detective Steve Hodel. With Perfidia, Ellroy has embarked upon a second LA Quartet, preceding the first Quartet chronologically, which, in its myriad…

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  1. T.W.Garland says:

    Ellroy’s 1950s fiction is great. I am reading American Tabloid at the moment. A little heavier on the historical side, but epic and entertaining all the same. I am looking forward to making time for Perfida.

    • tonybulmer says:

      American Tabloid is stylistically innovative T.W. Crimezine also recommends Libra by Don De lillo. Ellroy often cites this book as a reason why he never did a Kennedy assassination book. Libra certainly put into a clearly reasoned historical perspective the Oswald/ mafia/communist/connections. Cold Six Thousand by contrast is perhaps the most stylistically crazed book Ellroy has ever written. Crimezine actually met Mr. Ellroy for the first time during this era and he came on like Dee Dee Ramone meets Heinrich Himmler. He has since confessed he was high as a kite during this period. Blood’s a Rover the final book in the Underworld USA trilogy is Chandleresque in its conception. Ellroy claims he is a Hammett man. No doubt Dash Hammett [a confirmed socialist] would have flipped his wig to hear Ellroy talk. The more reasoned narrative of Blood’s a Rover does provide the perfect segue to Perfida however. Stay in touch Crimeziner!

      • T.W.Garland says:

        I bow to your expertise and will dutifully add Libra, Cold Six Thousand and Blood’s a Rover to my reading list. Thanks for the insight and suggestions.

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