FALLEN ANGELS: CHRONICLES OF CRIME AND MYSTERY IN L.A. by Marvin J. Wolf and Katherine Mader (Facts On File: $17.95; 239 pp.). If the authors of "Fallen Angels" are right, there are a substantial number of people who would like to spend a Sunday afternoon visiting the places where our most famous criminals murdered and maimed their victims. Complete with Thomas Guide coordinates, the book gives us such valuable information as just which house the La Biancas were murdered in by Charles Manson's "Family," and even what the house number was changed to by the new owners. For Caryl Chessman, the book gives seven locations, so that the reader has a choice of rape scenes to visit.
Its ghoulishness aside, "Fallen Angels" contains some fascinating local history. (This is told, it is true, from a viewpoint that seeks out conspiracy: Thank goodness the authors chose to leave out Robert Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe!) Here you will learn who the Griffith of Griffith Park was, and why he was notorious, and what else Alexander Pantages was famous for, besides the theater, and where the Vasquez Rocks got their name. "Fallen Angels" tells you all this and more, in great detail. It is, in short, well researched and engrossing, although a sensitive reader may find himself in a quandary as he discovers how hard it is to read a book while averting his eyes.