Raymond Chandler’s Bay City

Introducing Chandler’s Bay City: Crook town, run down, shabby town, gambling town. Novelist Raymond Chandler gravitated to sin and debauch, so Santa Monica in the 1930s was a frequent stop for Philip Marlowe. From doctors feelgood to second wives with pasts to crooked cops with a loathing for a mouthy PI, this tour has it all. Chandler’s canonization of sin, wealth and sunshine on L.A.’s Westside fed the abiding myths of the American hard-boiled genre and play into the popular conception of the region.


Focusing on Chandler’s middle period – “Farewell My Lovely,” “Lady in the Lake” and a few short stories upon which these novels are built, “Bay City Blues” among them– this tour will explore Chandler’s take on the Westside, the real life rackets and murders which gave Bay City its wild reputation, and the elements of the old community that have survived layer upon layer of gentrification.


As the bus rolls from point to point, your guides will draw the lines between Chandler’s life and his fiction, offering insight into his nomadic life with wife Cissy, the enigmatic redhead who appears in many forms in his short stories and novels.


Locations for the tour include:


The ruins of Pickfair (Mary Pickford’s former beach house, and close to the launch for the gambling ships)


Site of the former Santa Monica City Hall (4th & Santa Monica) immortalized in “Farewell My Lovely.”


Former site of Thelma Todd’s sidewalk cafe (just West of Sunset on the PCH), inspiration for the Lindsay Marriot House in “Farewell My Lovely.”


Santa Monica and Brentwood residences for Ray & Cissy.


Books & Short Stories covered in the tour: Farewell My LovelyBay City Blues, Lady in the Lake, Red Wind, The Little Sister