Los Angeles seems to have a degenerate cultural proclivity for all things aberrant and homicidal, and with the recently published page-turner Beverly Hills Confidential: A Century of Stars, Scandals and Murders we can all revel in a freshly disinterred trove of nauseating criminality and scandal. Author Barbara Schroeder, teamed with the Beverly Hills Police Departments' own Clark Fogg, gained freewheeling, far-reaching access to the BHPD's archives and the resulting batch of dark and ghastly vignettes the pair will be discussing here today are irresistibly lurid. The book bristles with gruesome crime scene photos of mutilated showgirls and suicidal movie stars, accounts of mass murder at Van Cleef & Arpels, new details on such infamous episodes as that '66 Polo Lounge fracas involving Frank Sinatra (The Voice got a shiner, the other guy a fractured skull), and the tragic details of how songwriter Jerry “Mairzy Dotes” Livingstone and his wife were shot to death by their own son — a Beverly Hills tradition upheld by such subsequent sociopathic scions as Lyle & Erik Menendez. At times seeming more appropriate for a Tales from the Crypt comic book than the bronze-toned veneer of nouveau riche genteel that Beverly Hills has so long aspired to (and so often went to insane lengths to cover up), this affair is sure to play as an arresting examination of malfeasance in most rancid and fascinating permutations. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri., Nov. 30, 7 p.m.; free, book is $35. (310) 659-3110; www.booksoup.com

Fri., Nov. 30, 7 p.m., 2012

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