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I Love a Mystery » Apart From My Art
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I Love a Mystery

Mystery board

Guilty, your Honor. I can’t get enough of John Grisham, Patricia Highsmith, Michael Connolly, Elizabeth George and, well, you get the idea. I’m also hooked on some of the Brits, Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Ruth Rendell, Daphne Du Maurier, Minette Walters and Ken Follett. They are my cup of tea.

But it wasn’t until a friend of ours, visiting from London, asked us to show him some of Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles that I became aware of this mystery master.

Silouettes of Raymond Chandler and girl detective

It was a no-brainer. I hit my favorite bookstore, Book Soup, the largest independent bookstore in Hollywood. It’s been serving readers, writers, artists, rock’n’rollers, and celebrities since 1975.

I’m always enticed by their well-chosen selections bursting from every shelf and tabletop.

But on this day, I immediately zeroed in on a shelf filled with Raymond Chandler mysteries.

Book Soup Triptick

What surprised me was his close association with Los Angeles,
even though he described it as,

“A city with all the personality of a paper cup.”

Still, it didn’t get in the way of his creativity.

“Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.”
Raymond Chandler

He went on to create some of the most memorable noir mysteries in American literature.

Four Raymond Chandler novels

All of these were made into films. He also wrote the screenplays for a number of other movies.

Three of Raymond Chandler Screenplays

But, his feelings about working in Hollywood were mixed to say the least.

“If my books had been any worse, I should not be invited to Hollywood,
and if they had been any better, I should not have come.”

He lived in downtown Los Angeles and included a number of city locations in his books. One of them was Angels Flight, a landmark funicular railway built in 1901 and connecting Hill Street and Olive Street.

His apartment was near the top of the railway in an area called Bunker Hill. In those days, it was a shady collection of Victorian homes that had been converted into cheap rooming houses.

After he was fired from the Danny Oil Company, he worked at a creamery and his mother worked at Grand Central Market, which is still there today. Just as downtown Los Angeles is well on it’s way to becoming gentrified, so has the market, a landmark since 1917, which brings together the cuisines of cultures of LA.

In front of the neon sign entrance to Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

“The coffee shop smell was strong enough to build a garage on.”
Raymond Chandler

Grand Central Market Los Angeles

Montage of venders at Grand Central Market

Eggslut vender at Grand Central Market

This jacket is from Artfulhome.com  It is the Truffle Travel Jacket by Spirithouse.

Sandra Sallin at Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles

“She looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.”
Raymond Chandler

Musso & Franks Neon sign

“The streets were dark with something more than night.”
Raymond Chandler

During the 30’s and 40’s, Chandler hung out in the Writers Room in the back of Musso & Frank, the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. The room was designed for drinking, socializing and a bit of writing every now and then.

Sandra Sallin in Musso & Franks back roomEven today, you can almost see Chandler nursing a dry martini at a table, murmuring,
“In Hollywood, anything can happen. Anything at all.”

Musso & Franks bartender and martini

“I’m an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.”
Raymond Chandler

Sandra Sallin at Musso & Franks

“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”


Vintage typewriter keys

“A good title is the title of a successful book.”    
Raymond Chandler


*This is a sponsored post from ArtfulHome.com

All images appearing on I Love a Mystery are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • LA CONTESSA - YOU are a DETECTIVE on the lose in LOS ANGELES!
    Finding all these OLD HAUNTS that stir Memories and make those of us who have NEVER been want to GO!
    I adore your TUNIC/JACKET from ARTFUL HOME!It suits YOU beautifully!
    I just clicked on their LINK and I was told by my computer to UPDATE MY BROWSER!!!!!!!
    I think I did THAT SUCCESSFULLY, SO now I will venture back to find your OUTFIT!
    The ORANGE and BLACK that surrounds you is perfect for the MONTH OF OCTOBER!!!!!

    • sandra - Bob and I are having a great time rediscovering downtown also. So glad you like the clothes because I do too! You’re right orange and black is perfect for this month. More to come!ReplyCancel

  • cam - I should just you leave you money and have you buy me one of everything you get from Artful Home while I’m over in Europe, pffffft!

    And no fair hanging out at my favourite book store without me — miss Book Soup 🙁ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Wait till you actually wear the clothes. They feel and look so good. Book Soup is so inviting. There’s a gem on every shelf and table. You want to leave with armloads of books. We brought our granddaughter with us and that’s exactly what she did.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Sheffner - Sandy—Reading your delightful blog is truly a walk down memory lane for me.
    You do it so joyfully, artistically and beautifully. You are a true natural at this!
    Your friend,

    • sandra - Thank you so much Nancy. I’m so glad you’re enjoying visiting these old haunts. Let’s have dinner one night at Musso’s.ReplyCancel

  • Judi briscoe - You have branched out from cosies! You look like a doll Sandy…thanks for this peek at LA.

    • Judi - Oooops..COZIESReplyCancel

    • sandra - Yep, no cozies for me. I’m into the dry martini life of Raymond Chandler and old LA. Love taking trips downtown to photograph. Bob and I have a great time discovering new places to photograph. You should see peoples faces watching these two white haired people photographing all over the place. They have this puzzled look on their face? Who are these grey hair peopleReplyCancel

  • Lillian Plummer - Another great post. You know L A back to front, thanks for the stories, love tthem. You look fabulous, you have lost weight since your surgery. Going back to check the books.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Yes, I have lost weight. Sharp eyes or I was really overweight. I am having fun with downtown LA. I’ve always enjoyed it but now it’s, even more, fun taking photos and looking at all the places freshened up. What’s old looks new again.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Connolly - I’m a big fan of Raymond Chandler too. His phrases are so clever!! Thanks for taking us along in your adventures. You look stunning in that Truffle Coat. Isn’t it fabulous?ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Yes, that Truffle coat is a stunner. I love the way you can style it so many different ways. I adore Chandler’s quotes. He’s like reading a dry martini!ReplyCancel

  • sandra - I think I know LA because I’m 76! As I said I was taken downtown by both my mother and my father, Plus I would go downtown to visit artists studios and buy flowers from the flower mart. So I would go down there a lot. Now even more.ReplyCancel

  • Judie Rosenman - Uh oh, not only did i read one of them, i think I commented.on it, bemoaning the absence of the lime Jell-O with cottage cheese topping. Get out the straight jacket (preferably in cornflower blue please).ReplyCancel

    • sandra - So it doesn’t matter how much bridge you play. Who can remember. Of course, I have an excuse I don’t play bridge. Maybe you don’t either.ReplyCancel

  • cindy hattersley - I love these posts. I am learning so much about L.A history…you are a walking brand ambassador! That Artful home jacket is gorgeous!! I love those leggings too…care to share your source?!!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Cindy.I love my ArtfulHome jacket also. You can wear it open, closed, buttoned up, unbuttoned, you name it. The leggings are from Bryn Walker and I bought them on sale last spring. Love them.ReplyCancel

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