Writer, social historian, and true crime expert Joan Renner is the author of The First with the latest: Aggie Underwood, the Los Angeles Herald, and the Sordid Crimes of a City. The LA Weekly selected the book as one of the top ten true crimes books about the city. She contributed to the Los Angeles Times bestseller LAPD '53, written by James Ellroy and Glynn Martin. Her story, The Wages of Sin: The Ballad of Margie and Dale, appears in the true crime anthology, The Best New True Crime Stories: Partners in Crime, edited by Mitzi Szereto. Joan lectures on historic Los Angeles crime and appears on true crime TV shows and podcasts: City of Angels, City of Death; Deadly Women; Deadly Affairs; Nightmare Next Door; Very Scary People; Hollywood & Crime. She is currently writing a book for University Press of Kentucky about Los Angeles during the Prohibition era.
The First with the Latest!: Aggie Underwood, the Los Angeles Herald, and the Sordid Crimes of a City
Agness “Aggie” Underwood never intended to become a reporter—all she really wanted was a pair of silk stockings. When her husband told her they couldn’t afford them, she threatened to get a job and buy them herself. Those silk stockings launched a career that started with Aggie at the switchboard of the Los Angeles Record newspaper in 1926, and ended more than four decades later when she retired as City Editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. As a reporter for the Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express (later, Herald Examiner), Aggie not only reported on crimes throughout the city, but sometimes helped solve them. Using quick wit and intuition, Aggie helped her newspaper live up to its motto "The First with the Latest."