A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.'s by Richard Rayner

Crime Criminals

By Richard Rayner

Most sensible publication of the YearThe l. a. occasions • The Washington publish la was once the quickest transforming into urban on the earth, mad with oil fever, get-rich-quick schemes, and superstar scandals. It used to be additionally rife with prepared crime, with a mayor within the pocket of the syndicates and a DA taking bribes to throw trials. In A vivid and to blame position, Richard Rayner narrates the entwined lives of 2 males, Dave Clark and Leslie White, who have been stuck up within the crimes, murders, and swindles of the day. Over a couple of transformative years, because the growth occasions shaded into the melancholy, the adventures of Clark and White could encourage pulp fiction and change L.A.’s reckless optimism with a brand new cynicism. jointly, theirs is the story of the way town of light went noir.

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But then Evelyn Brogan, an attractive brunette who gave her profession as "legal secretary" (well, maybe she was Marco's secretary, and what she was doing now had something to do with the law), testified on Marco's behalf, swearing that she'd been Marco's companion that night and he'd had nothing to do with the shooting. Judge Doran had placed the twelve jurors in sheriff's custody; they stayed in a downtown hotel at night. One morning the jurors piled into a bus and left downtown, heading west on Pico Boulevard, across empty countryside, and down to Venice Boulevard where Clark led them through the Ship Café, showing them the dance floor, the orchestra stand, the restroom where the fight had started, and the roof to which Marco had fled.

Every working day throughout the 1920s, builders started more than fifty new homes. Each week a new hotel went up. The year 1923 alone saw the construction of 800 office buildings, 400 industrial buildings, 150 schools, 130 warehouses, 700 apartment buildings, and more than 25,000 single dwellings. Property prices doubled, tripled, quadrupled, eventually rising sixfold through the decade. A. still meant downtown, thriving with business and residences. In 1923 a Saturday Evening Post article about the boom ran a photo showing the district, chockablock with office buildings, all about twelve tofifteenstories tall, as high as the earthquake regulations would then allow.

We're looking for Dave Clark," Matthews said. 2 A Bright and Guilty Place Leslie White blinked—unable, for a moment, to believe his ears. "Our Dave Clark," he said. "That's right," Matthews said, and White rocked back in his chair. Dave Clark—known to the press as "Debonair Dave" or "Hand­ some Dave"—was a crusading litigator and former assistant district attorney who was now running for judge. He was a war hero with matinee-idol looks. He was, moreover, Leslie White's friend. "Had the chief suddenly accused me of the crime, I couldn't have been more astounded," White wrote.

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