Perfidia (Ellroy novel)

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James Ellroy Perfidia A Novel first edition hardcover image.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorJames Ellroy
Cover artistJacket design by Chip Kidd
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Second L.A. Quartet
GenreCrime fiction, noir, historical fiction, historical romance
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf, William Heinemann Ltd/Cornerstone (Waterstones's edition)
Publication date
September 9, 2014, September 11, 2014 (Waterstones's edition)
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback), audio CD, audio download, and Kindle
Pages720 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN978-0-307-95699-6 (first edition, hardcover), ISBN 978-0-434-02052-2 (Waterstones's edition, hardcover), ISBN 978-0385-35321-2 (eBook)
LC ClassPS3555.L6274P47 2014
Followed byThis Storm 

Perfidia is a historical romance[1] and crime fiction novel by American author James Ellroy. Published in 2014, it is the first novel in the second L.A. Quartet,[2] referring to his four prior novels from the first L.A. Quartet. Perfidia was released September 9, 2014. A Waterstones exclusive limited edition of Perfidia was released September 11, 2014, and includes an essay by Ellroy himself titled "Ellroy's History – Then and Now."[3] The title, Perfidia, is Spanish for the word perfidy, (see also perfidia) and is also the name of the big band song, Perfidia.[4][5]


The main characters are Hideo Ashida, a Japanese Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) chemist, Kay Lake, a young woman looking for adventure, the real life William H. Parker, a gifted LAPD captain with a drinking problem, and Dudley Smith, an LAPD sergeant born in Dublin, Ireland, and raised in Los Angeles. The novel is told in real time, covering 23 days with the dates and the time the chapters and events are occurring, as well as through Kay Lake's diary. An entry from Kay Lake's diary begins Perfidia, followed by a bootleg transmitter radio broadcast on Friday, December 5, 1941, being broadcast by real-life Gerald L. K. Smith. The first chapter introduces the reader to Hideo Ashida, on Saturday, December 6, 1941, at 9:08 am. Since many fictional and real-life characters appear in Perfidia, many from his prior novels, Ellroy added a dramatis personæ, which notes the previous appearances of characters in Perfidia, as well as short summaries for some of the characters.

Reviews and reception[edit]

Perfidia was on The New York Times Best Sellers list for hardcover fiction at number 16 on September 28, 2014.[6] It also was an Editors' Choice at The New York Times on September 12, 2014.[7] NPR added Perfidia as one of the best books of 2014 out of approximately 250 titles.[8] Perfidia was also one of the eighty books nominated for the 2015 Folio Prize by the Folio Prize Academy.[9]


  1. ^ "James Ellroy: Perfidia: A Novel". Vimeo. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  2. ^ Hooper, Mark (September 8, 2014). "James Ellroy's American Tabloid: will it ever make it to the big screen?". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  3. ^ Retrieved 10 September 2014
  4. ^ Ellroy, James (August 8, 2014). "James Ellroy introduces Perfidia". YouTube. Waterstones. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  5. ^ "Spanish Perfidy". Google. July 21, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  6. ^ "Best Sellers - The New York Times". The New York Times. September 28, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ "Editors' Choice - The New York Times". The New York Times. September 12, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ Cohen, Nicole; Eads, David; Friedman, Rose; Lettenberger, Becky; Mayer, Petra; Novey, Beth; Rees, Christina (December 3, 2014). "NPR's Book Concierge". NPR. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Flood, Alison (December 15, 2014). "Folio prize reveals 80 titles in contention for 2015 award". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved June 18, 2015.

External links[edit]