Visit Blood On The Page on

Share and Syndicate

AddThis Feed Button

Our Newsletter

Subscribe to the Blood On The Page newsletter. We'll let you know when new titles are posted.

Recent Posts

Personal note from John Verdon to BOTP members

61 HOURS by Lee Child


June 2010
April 2010
March 2010
January 2010
November 2009
October 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009


2 in the hat 61 hours A Season for the Dead abandoned Achilles in Vietnam advanced copy advice Afghanistan Africa Agent Cooper al roker Alfred Hitchcock Andrew Bacevich Atlanta audiobook author author tours award winners awesome Bad Luck and Trouble bantam Bantam Dell Barry Eisler Berlin Berton Roueche Best Swedish Crime Novel Award bestseller bibliophile blly blessing Blood and Ice blood on the page blood ties body Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference book release 2.0 Book Review botp breathless Brett Battles buzz balls & hype Caravaggio characters cody mcfadyen contests cops crime crime fiction crimewav d.d. warren Dante Dante's Numbers Darth Vader Dave Gurney David Grossman David Hewson David Hunter David Kilcullen David Rollins dead dead trees is a dead model dean koontz Death Trust debut deception detainees detective Dick Cheney Divine Comedy drugs dyslexia e-books Edgar Allen Poe Awards eight in the box Emery episode Europe evolution of the book Faith Mitchell Fault Line Fear the Worst fear the worst Fear the Worst Blood on the Page Feral fiction Fragment free chapters free download free ebook GBI Genesis Georgia giveaways Gone Tomorrow Grant County Guantanamo guns Hadrian Hammett hard boiled Harvey Keitel Harwood henders island history Hitchcock homicide hook hospital Illegal International ipod Ireland Jack Palms Jack Reacher Jack Wakes Up Jake Wakes Up Jean Reno Johan Theorin John Verdon Jonathan Quinn Jonathan Shay Karen Maitland Karin Slaughter kay hooper kellerman La Femme Nikita lee child Lee Child Linwood Barclay linwood barclay lisa gardner Lisa Gardner M.J. Rose Maltese falcon military Mission Dolores morning show murders mystery mystery-thrillers never look away new release new york New York Times Nic Costa no time for goodbye No Time for Goodbye noir Old Peculier Crime Novel Award On Killing Palace of Fine Arts Pantheon Papercuts Paul Callaway Paul Levine pdf Persuader playlist Podcast podcast podcasts publication day Pulp Fiction raffi yessayan Rain Fall Reader reviews readings relentless Robert Masello safer Safer San Francisco Sara Linton Scott Horton Sean Doolittle sequel serial series Seth Harwood sex Shadow of Betrayal Shadow Season short story Simon Beckett Singapore sixty one hours sixty-one hours Spy suspense terror suspects The Accidental Guerilla The Cleaner The Cleanup The Cold Spot The Coldest Mile The Darkest Room The Death Trust The Deceived The Garden of Evil The Glass Key Award The Lizard's Bite the morning show murders the neighbor The Neighbor The Owl Killers The Sacred Cut The Seventh Sacrament The Villa of Mysteries Think of a Number Thriller thriller thrilling today show Tom Piccirilli too close to home tour trailer two in the hat UK Undone Vertigo video videos Vietnam wake up america wake up with al Warren Fahy webisode Whispers of the Dead Will Trent Writers' Workshop writing writing process Yoda

April 13, 2009

History isn’t always that old, you know

Monday. Oh that means Houston, doesn’t it? Murder by the Book, 6.30 pm tonight. But let’s step back to San Francisco for a moment, back into history. When I’m in Italy I tend to do this in giant steps. In The Garden of Evil, for example, my research took me to little alleys where, in 1605, Caravaggio once lived in squalor, his career in tatters, his temper growing ever more violent by the day.

For its predecessor, The Seventh Sacrament, I descended into underground sewers and catacombs that were almost two thousand years old. And in San Francisco? It’s there, you know. Not as ancient, but full of the loquacious ghosts I hunt in my stories, some of them a little more talkative than usual.

Here are my favourite locations from Vertigo which I recycled in Dante’s Numbers

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina. As we discussed earlier, this is a recreation of an imaginary Rome, a sketch by Piranesi turned into a beautiful fake ruin in northern California. Piranesi, by the way, really did design the actual square of the Knights of Malta where The Seventh Sacrament begins. See what Nic Costa means when he says, on occasion, ‘everything connects’?

The Legion of Honor. This rather remote art gallery is used in the movie for a spooky scene where Madeleine Elster sits in front of the portrait of Carlotta Valdes, the dead woman she supposedly believes is beginning to take over her personality. Scottie watches, aghast, as she sits motionless in front of the painting. In the book my elusive female lead, the actress Maggie Flavier, uses the real paintings in the gallery as inspiration for her parts. Nic watches her as she explains this, more than a little worried.

Mission Dolores. Tucked away in the Mission District this is one of the original Spanish Catholic missions set up in the 18th century when California was being colonised. The first church is still there, set in a beautiful cemetery with the graves of many early San Francisco residents. In the movie Hitchcock has Madeleine stand in front of Carlotta’s headstone while Scottie watches her with the avid, greedy gaze of a sexual voyeur. The cemetery is hardly changed. In the book I use this as a key location for one of the clues that draws Teresa Lupo towards her belief — rejected initially by her colleagues — that Vertigo is as much a part of the mystery as Dante.

The waterfront from the Marina to the bridge. This is one of my favourite parts of the city, quiet, with wonderful views of the bridge. Full of history too. How many people know that Crissy Field, now a nature reserve, was once an early aerodrome? Hitchcock’s primary use in the area was for the important scene where Scottie saves Madeleine from her apparent suicide attempt. Since I have Costa and co living nearby in Cow Hollow, and the premiere of the movie at the Palace of Fine Arts, I use it a lot more.

The ‘Brocklebank Apartments’. Home to Madeleine in the movie, and Maggie Flavier in the book, you will find these at 1000 Mason Street, barely changed from fifty years ago.
There’s a wonderful roundup of the locations on this fan site here. I hope you enjoyed this little virtual tour of San Francisco — though it’s nothing like the real thing.

I will be back in California tomorrow — at the Mystery Bookstore in LA tomorrow night, Tuesday, at 7pm, and noon at Vroman’s in in Pasadena on Wednesday. On Thursday I will be nearing the end of my tour in Portland (with only Seattle on Friday left) but will lodge some closing thoughts here then.

Comments (0) | Permalink