The Red Dahlia

The Red Dahlia by Lynda La Plante Read Free Book Online

Book: The Red Dahlia by Lynda La Plante Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lynda La Plante
Tags: Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers
hair on the photograph they used; they have not, as yet, discovered that the brutality of these murders is almost identical. I am going to ask for a complete press embargo on any further comparisons between the two cases. I don’t want what was done to Elizabeth Short sparking a media frenzy of headlines. By withholding some of the details about the atrocities Louise suffered, we will be able to distinguish between the crackpot calls and a real tip-off, and it’s a tip-off I am desperate for.’
    Langton’s mobile rang and he headed into his office to take the call in private. It was Anna, who was sitting in the canteen at the Mirrors offices. She had taken a statement from the journalist who had published the first photograph of Louise.
    ‘The journalist that received the typed note reckoned it was on schoolbook lined paper; the left-hand side was ripped.’ She looked at her notebook and read the lines she had copied. ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, who killed Louise and slit her mouth in two?’
    ‘It had to have come from the killer, because we hadn’t given a full press release on the cuts to her mouth. I called Sharon and asked her if she had mentioned the wounds to the journalist and she said she hadn’t: now for the twist, she also denies ever sending or being paid for the photograph.’
    ‘Could she be lying?’
    ‘I’m not sure; question is if she didn’t get paid for the photograph, who did?’
    ‘Where did it come from?’
    ‘He said he paid a runner for it; you know, they have contacts who hang out, taking photographs at clubs. Sometimes they get lucky.’
    ‘Did you get a name?’
    ‘Yep, Kenneth Dunn; I’m tracking him down.’
    ‘Good, okay; keep in touch.’
    Anna had arranged to meet Kenneth Dunn at a Radio Shack where he worked part time. Dunn was very eager to speak to her, and broke off a conversation he was having as Anna showed him her ID. He led her through to the back of the shop into a small storage area. Anna showed him the newspaper.
    ‘Did you sell this picture to the Mirror?’
    ‘Yes, they’ve already paid me for it.’
    ‘How did you come by this photograph?’
    ‘I can’t divulge my sources.’
    ‘Why not?’
    ‘Because I have to pay them, and we do a trade-off.’
    ‘You didn’t take this photograph, correct?’
    ‘That’s right.’
    ‘So please tell me who gave it to you, or who you paid for it, or I will have you arrested for obstructing the police.’
    ‘It is imperative I know where this photograph came from and how it was passed to you, Mr Dunn. This girl was murdered and it could become a vital piece of evidence; so, where did you get this photograph from?’
    He sighed. ‘I was given it.’
    ‘Who by?’
    ‘Look, I don’t want to get her into trouble; it wasn’t her idea for me to sell it: it was mine. I make a few quid at weekends hanging out at clubs; you know, snapping the stars as they go in or out — especially out, they love shots of them boozed up and falling down - and their own photographers get bored hanging around. I mean, some nights, I’ve been there until four in the morning.’
    ‘Who gave you this photograph, Mr Dunn?’
    Again he hesitated, his greasy face shining; his dark hair was smothered in a glue-like gel which made it stick up in spikes.
    ‘Was it Sharon Bilkin?’
    Anna returned to her car and bleeped it open. She threw in her briefcase as she dialled Langton’s mobile.
    ‘She was lying: he got the picture from Sharon Bilkin on the promise he would try and get her some coverage, which he did, as she was featured in the same article. He didn’t take the photograph and he also didn’t know anything about the marks to our victim’s mouth.’
    Langton gave a long sigh, then there was silence.
    ‘Are you still there?’ Anna asked.
    ‘Yeah, yeah, just trying to get the timeframe organised in my brain. The journalist is sent the photo, or it’s passed to him by this Dunn character,

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