The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

Robert Graysmith, Author . Berkley $25.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-425-23231-6

Graysmith (Zodiac ) mixes film history, true crime, and autobiography with disappointing results in this scattered exploration of the woman behind one of cinema’s most memorable scenes. Though his goal is ostensibly to track down Marli Renfro—Janet Leigh’s body double in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho —who some believed was raped and murdered in the 1980s, Graysmith takes too long getting there. Detailing the intricate Psycho shoot, which was painstakingly designed by Hitchcock in order to both shock the audience and pass the rigorous censor test, Graysmith introduces readers to Renfro, a gorgeous redhead who came to the film via modeling, some of it nude. Interspersed with Renfro’s experiences as an actress, Playboy model, and dancer is an account of the life and crimes of Henry “Sonny” Busch Jr., a Norman Bates–look-alike in L.A. who strangled three women and had a penchant for Psycho . Graysmith, comparing his own growing obsession with Renfro to the plot of the 1944 film Laura (where the detective also falls for a dead woman after seeing her photograph), is determined to discover what really happened to her. As sloppy as Hitchcock’s shower scene was precise, Graysmith’s jumbled account never finds its footing, despite the fascinating subject matter. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/14/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-18518-6
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-18037-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 321 pages - 978-0-425-23975-9
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-84856-736-8
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