Christine picked the City by the Bay for a getaway, and for me that meant looking up a few noir locations. She should have known that was coming.
Hard boiled detective fiction provided some of my earliest reading enthusiasm.
It was with a little help from San Francisco Noir by Nathaniel Rich that I found the plaque identifying the location of Miles Archer's death from The Maltese Falcon.
(I guess it has a bit of a spoiler so don't look if you're planning to read the book.)
I can remember reading about the monument's placement in the '70s in one mystery mag or another but for some reason I've never made it to San Francisco until now.
I can't say why it took so long, but I was glad for an opportunity to travel in the footsteps of Sam Spade.
At Hotel Rex
We were staying at the very cool Hotel Rex, which has a Maltese Falcon passage mixed in among literary quotes that decorate various floors. We were actually about a block and a half from the spot "Where Bush Street roofed Stockton before slipping downhill to Chinatown."
So of course it was the last night in town I actually found Burritt Alley, even though I'd spotted Dashiell Hammett Street on our first night, when we were heading to Chinatown for a festival and dinner.
It's not hard to find, but earlier in the week I'd managed to pass on the wrong side of the street almost every time.
A girl in a chef's jacket was talking on a cell at the mouth of the alley when I located it--something you wouldn't have seen in Spade's day--but otherwise it looked about like it's described in the novel.
She offered to take a picture of Christine and me together, but I opted for us to do separate poses.
The sun was still a little high, I guess, for the perfect experience which would have called for night and fog, but it was still nice to be there, almost inside a great literary work.
Tags: Sam Spade, San Francisco, Film Noir, hard boiled fiction, Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett