Though I live in and love Berkeley, San Francisco is my favorite noir city. Though Philip Marlowe is from Los Angeles and New York and Chicago are often considered the gritty backdrops quintessential in crime fiction, San Francisco noir and hardboiled fiction has an established and legitimate history. There’s a great book on film noir in San Francisco that I enjoyed while researching for The Clear Case called San Francisco Noir, by Nathaniel Rich.
But rather than talking about noir San Francisco, I want to talk a bit about the context in which my novel and SF film noir take place. I have always been interested in literary and cinematic cities. I took a few classes on that specific subject while I was at Cal. I wanted to do something (subtly) with what I learned about cities and pick one specific point in San Francisco history in which to stage a mystery. To do that, I had to investigate what led up to that chilly afternoon in which Le Cleur and Gance come together.