Happy Birthday to Aggie Underwood and Deranged L.A. Crimes


Aggie at a crime scene in the 1940s.

Aggie Underwood was born on December 17, 1902 and Deranged L.A. Crimes was born on December 17, 2016, so there’s a lot to celebrate today. We have so many candles on our birthday cake it will take a gale force wind to blow them all out.

It was Aggie’s career as a Los Angeles journalist that inspired me to begin this blog.  She began her career as a temporary switchboard operator at the Daily Record in late 1926.. In her 1949 autobiography, Newspaperwoman, she described the Record’s newsroom as a “weird wonderland” and promptly fell in love with the newspaper business. It didn’t take her long to realize that she wanted to be a reporter and she pursued her goal with passion and commitment.

During a time when most female journalists were assigned to report on women’s club activities and other social events, Aggie covered most, if not all, of the most important crime stories of the day. She attended Thelma Todd’s autopsy in December 1935 and was the only Los Angeles reporter to score a byline in the Black Dahlia case in January 1947.

Like Aggie, I’ve become obsessed with the villains and victims in Los Angeles. The stories touch me as often as they frighten and repulse me. I want to understand why people do the things they do, and sometimes I feel like I get close. I don’t expect to ever completely answer that question–but the quest is a rewarding one.

Whether you are new to the blog or have been following Deranged L.A. Crimes for a while, I want to thank you sincerely for your readership.

There will be many more stories in 2017 and a few appearances too. I will keep you posted.


6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Aggie Underwood and Deranged L.A. Crimes

  1. Thank you, Joan, for my favourite blog. Whenever I check my blog feed, this is always the first one I check for updates.
    Still considering making a similar one for Phoenix, in future, as you encouraged.
    Look forward to reading more in future.

    • Lisa,

      I appreciate your kind words! And I’m glad to hear that you’re still considering a similar blog for Phoenix. I think
      it would be great! Of course you would have to cover Winnie Ruth Judd in detail! Have a wonderful holiday. Take care and
      be safe.


  2. Ho-ho-ho-micide! Happy holidays to you and yours! We’re out here avidly reading, even if we don’t always speak up. And please keep up the good work. Both with this excellent blog, and your appearances on “Deadly Women.” Which always make me say: “Hey, it’s the Deranged Lady!” (But in a very respectful way.)

    • Mike,
      Ho-ho-ho-micide to you, too! Thank you so much for speaking up. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it
      means to me to hear from readers of the blog. And, believe me, I’ve been called much worse (and with no respect)
      than “the Deranged Lady.” You made me smile today!


  3. JOan, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for your blog. Since I found it earlier this year, I\’ve been addicted. Love your writing and I love Aggie!

    • Mary –

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad that you are enjoying the blog (I love Aggie, too!).



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