Books: Hollywood Gothic (1922-1986) a Cast of Killers

by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick; Dutton; 336 pages; $17.95

It was 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 2, 1922, when William Desmond Taylor's houseman came to work and discovered the film director's body lying faceup on the floor. When the police arrived an hour later, they found Taylor's Los Angeles bungalow swarming with reporters and souvenir hunters. The press made much of reports that Mabel Normand, the heroine of Mack Sennett's Keystone Kops comedies, was seen rummaging through desk drawers in search of her old love letters. A Paramount executive was sitting in front of the fireplace burning papers. A man claiming to be a doctor examined the corpse and announced that...

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