Ellroy has some serious reservations about the case as presented by Hodel, but he thinks his solution might be the correct one.I think James' comments speak for themselves. They're certainly far from a ringing endorsement of the book and nothing along the lines of "case closed." In my opinion, James is picking his words carefully here (as I understand he does in the upcoming "48 Hours" segment) to offer tepid support of what even he openly concedes is a flimsy case, one that he still wishes to endorse for reasons known only to him.
Like a man searching for a couch in a dark room and ending up sprawled across it, Hodel, Ellroy says, has likely stumbled into a successful resolution of the case.
"I think he did it," Ellroy said. "I say that with some reluctance. I think a lot of the underpinnings of the story don't work. He posited a great and far-reaching L.A.P.D. cover-up and conspiracy and can't prove any of it. At the very least, George Hodel was a psychopathic libertine. A very bad guy. He had 11 kids by various women. One kid grew up to be a homicide detective in L.A.P.D. Odd, in itself. This feels to me, almost, like divine intervention. (Steve Hodel) investigates the case at great length, puts together a finally unconvincing case, but it turns out his old man was the number one suspect and admitted it on a tape. That's enough."
"But Mr. Ellroy says that if people are confused, "it's perfectly fine. . . . Steve has to get over it. People are going to believe what they're going to believe." (In Mr. Ellroy's novel it's made clear which character murdered Elizabeth Short, although the case as far as the authorities are concerned remains officially unresolved.) Mr. Ellroy says that Mr. Hodel has set out a "very convincing case." But, at this stage, Mr. Ellroy believes "the best way for Steve to take his story to the world is to do a documentary."