What happened at the Blue Sea Cottage?
A botched autopsy raised more questions than it answered, revealing a scandalous secret and a powerful motive for murder.
Police learned that on the night of her death, Fritzie and a male companion had checked into the Blue Sea Cottages, a resort in La Jolla near the beach, under assumed names. Two suspects quickly emerged, a debonair doctor and a playboy actor, each with a motive, a shaky alibi, and circumstantial evidence against him. Journalists in southern California hyped the case, but when Fritzie’s Hollywood connections came to light the investigation shifted to L.A. and the story became a nation-wide sensation. Fritzie's links to the film colony included a rumored contract with Famous Players-Lasky, the number one studio and the principal studio involved in the recent series of scandals--the "Fatty" Arbuckle affair, the William Desmond Taylor murder mystery, and the drug-related death of Wallace Reid.
Later an ambitious district attorney battled a high-profile L.A. defense lawyer in the most sensational trial in San Diego’s history to date. The case became intertwined with a heated mayoral campaign, a grand jury investigation into vice and corruption, and allegations of legal dirty tricks on both sides. But at the end the case stood officially unsolved and the big question remained: What happened to Fritzie that night at the Blue Sea Cottage? Information not available to the jury and public in 1923 sheds new light on the mystery.
Set in Jazz Age San Diego against the backdrop of yellow journalism, notorious Hollywood scandals, Prohibition corruption and a lively culture war, MYSTERY AT THE BLUE SEA COTTAGE tells the intriguing true story of Fritzie Mann, a beautiful, twenty-year-old interpretive dancer from an immigrant Jewish family.
On the evening of January 14, 1923, Fritzie left home to meet a man whose identity she kept secret. The next day, a picnicking family discovered her body on lonely Torrey Pines beach, her party dress and possessions strewn about. Her body appeared to have been posed. The strange scene baffled investigators. Was it a homicide, a suicide, or an accidental drowning?
Something was going on with Fritzie at the end...
"Frieda behaved oddly for the rest of the week, but Amelia saw no hint of melancholy. If anything, the girl acted too cheerful, too much like herself, especially that last day."
Fritzie had Hollywood aspirations...
"A Famous Players contract was the fantasy of many a young woman, a fantasy that ended in disappointment or ruin for all but a fraction, and ended for Fritzie on a desolate beach."
The beach scene was strange...
"Miss Mann appeared to have been posed, her legs stretched out, feet together, hands folded neatly across her breast in peaceful repose, as it were, frozen in rigor mortis."
The crime baffled the police...
"On the first full day of the investigation, the police were chasing the mystery through “tangled threads” of conflicting evidence, some pointing to accidental death, some to suicide, some to murder."
One suspect was an actor and...
"Tinseltown men bore watching…The newspapers painted the film colony as a den of iniquity where booze, sex, and drugs flowed freely, where wild parties turned into orgies that might end in rape and murder."
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies