Inside move: Dueling Black Dahlia books

Tomes tussle over truth in murder case

The book biz’s fascination with the Black Dahlia murder — the B-movie actress who got around town and eventually got murdered, and dismembered, in 1947 — seems never to fade.

“Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story,” by Steve Hodel, has shot to No. 2 on the L.A. Times bestseller list with the intriguing assertion that the author’s father was the murderer. But it’s not the first Dahlia tome to take that tack.

“Daddy Was the Black Dahlia,” by Janice Knowlton, came out a few years ago claiming that her dad did it.

With that kind of perverse twist, can Hollywood be far behind?

No, according to CAA agent Michael Wimer, who says producers are bidding on the Hodel book.

Perhaps these plot complications are the reason the infamous noir crime has had a rough road trying to reach the bigscreen. David Fincher was slated to develop a film based on James Ellroy‘s 1987 fictitious account of the murder, but nothing has materialized to date.

True, there was “True Confessions,” based on the John Gregory Dunne novel, though the story was only loosely inspired by the Black Dahlia murder.

And, not to let Hodel have the last word, yet another Dahlia book will hit the racks in 2005.

This one is by Don Wolfe, who wrote “The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe”; it will be published by Regan Books, a division of HarperCollins.

Alan Nevins, Wolfe’s manager at the Firm, won’t reveal who Wolfe points his finger at, but says it’s not his dad.

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