Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bouchercon 2010: The last Hammett post

You know what the first picture is. It's on Burritt Street, a half-block from my post- #Bcon2010 hotel.

Scene Two is 580 McAllister Street, a key location in "The Whosis Kid," a fine tale in its own right and a prototype for The Maltese Falcon:

"My best bet was the corner of McAllister and Van Ness*. From there I could watch the front door as well as one end of Redwood street. ...

"The Whosis Kid came down the front steps and walked toward me, buttoning his overcoat and turning up the collar as he walked, his head bent against the slant of the rain.

"A curtained black Cadillac touring car came from behind me, a car I thought had been parked down near the City Hall** when I took my plant there.

"It curved around my coupé, slid with chainless recklessness into the curb, skidded out again, picking up speed somehow on the wet paving.

"A curtain whipped loose in the rain. ..."

* — Van Ness Avenue is just out of the picture to the right. Redwood runs parallel to McAllister behind number 580, home of jewel thief Inés Almad, the mastermind of the heist that triggers the action in "The Whosis Kid." The view here shows the approximate location of the shootout to which Hammett is building up in the passage quoted above.

** — San Francisco City Hall was behind me and off to the right as I took this picture, and I presume it's still there. Much of Hammett is an accurate topographical guide to the city.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

Labels: , , , , , ,

14 Comments:

Blogger C.B. James said...

I lived in the city for years and always meant to do the Dashell Hammett tour, but never got around to it. Next time I'm there, I'll be heading to Burritt Street.

October 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

C.B., Don Herron gave an abbreviated version of the Hammett tour for Bouchercon-goers, but I did not join because it took place during convention hours. Instead I bought his book "The Dashiell Hammett Tour" and took small Hammett tours on my own with its help.

The book outlines the tour route, provides maps, and includes commentary, articles and a short biography of Hammett.

Burritt Street is across Bush from the stretch of Monroe renamed for Hammett (or maybe all of Monroe has been renamed for him; I don't know the city well.)

October 24, 2010  
Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

CB, you are not alone: I've lived in Dublin for decades, and have never followed Joyce's 'Ulysses' trail, or even joined in any 'Bloomsday' celebrations

October 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I, on the other hand, have visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia, though not as part of any civic celebration.

October 24, 2010  
Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

Is that where you go to pay your speeding tickets?

October 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You irreverent gobshite! I have not driven for many years, so if I got a ticket, it would be for something worse than speeding.

October 24, 2010  
Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

So, its a case of "not guilty, m'lud"
Although I note you're careful to not specify your reason for visiting Independence Hall.


'bolyp': that sounds like a useful five letter word!

October 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My six-letter word is even better. It may be what the French will call an annoying female child: bratte.

I would always feel the proper reverence when passing Independence Hall at night on the way home from work. It was like passing the Western Wall or the Acropolis or the Great Pyramid at Giza -- the site of a momentous, foundational event in Western culture. And the park rangers who lead tours are good at their jobs -- not as funny as the beefeaters at the Tower of London, but then, this is a more earnest nation.

October 24, 2010  
Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

Lets just hope that, when stumbling past your Western Wall equivalent in an inebriated state, you didn't feel the need to re-enact the kind of behaviour that led to one of Mick Jagger, and some of his fellow band-members early arrests!


'ouncopst', indeed!

October 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I feel no need to follow in the footsteps of those spoiled art-school boys.

October 24, 2010  
Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

I think they're Chandler-types, anyhow!
At least Dulwich is a lot closer to Richmond than San Francisco is!

October 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I think all or all but Jagger went to art school, an Jagger also went to LSE, or so I've always heard.

October 24, 2010  
Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

...something like that, anyhow
Jagger's dad was a PE teacher, as far as I recall

October 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, the Rolling Stones never went in for that rebel stuff, anyhow.

October 24, 2010  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home