If you think the dark alleyways of Chinatown or the mysterious fog that blankets most of the city makes San Francisco a great location for a crime drama, then you wouldn't be the first. Dashiell Hammett worked as a detective in San Francisco's Pinkerton Detective Agency before turning his San Francisco cases into fiction in the 1930s and '40s. His most famous and enduring work was The Maltese Falcon, which became the iconic movie directed by John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart. Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon" — Photo courtesy of Public domain
Hammett died in 1961, but his work and his favorite haunts have been steadfastly explained and celebrated since 1971 by Don Herron, lone leader of the Dashiell Hammett Tour (and author of an engaging book with the same name).
If you think you're as brave as Bogey, show up on Sunday morning in front of the Main Library downtown with twenty bucks. You'll be treated to a tour that includes the highlights of the film and many of Hammett's own haunts, including his favorite watering hole, John's Grill. John's Grill — Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
Herron brings both the writing and the character of Hammett back to life, the tour more of an inspired performance than an informed walk around. If you've got the guts of Bogey's Sam Spade, who "didn't mind a reasonable amount of trouble," then free up your Sunday afternoon for this unforgettable tour.