Sergeant Forrest Hinderliter of the Gila Bend (Arizona) Police had been up since two in the morning with a dead body and a shaky story. He'd found the body - a black man with a bullet hole in his back - lying on the floor in apartment 44 of the North Euclid Avenue project at the western edge of town. He'd also found a woman there, and this was her story: She woke up after midnight to find a man on top of her, making love to her. She'd never seen the man before. She told him to get off and get out; she warned him she was expecting another man. A car pulled up outside and flashed its lights. A minute later the other man came through the door. Explanations were inadequate. In the scuffle a gun was drawn, a .38 revolver. A shot went off, the first visitor died.
In "The Corpse as Big as the Ritz", Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler and master of the "investigation of investigations", gives us a Hollywood noir with shades of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Chandler: An inquiry into the "Dirty Little Death in the Desert" of David Whiting, the love-stricken business manager of actress Sarah Miles, who was found dead in the actress's hotel room during the filming of the Burt Reynold's Western The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing.
"The Corpse as Big as the Ritz" was originally published in Esquire, August 1973.