Re: RARA-AVIS: invented cities

Date: 08 Nov 2001


Re your question below:

> I'm curious about other writers who have done this,
> either invented their
> own city or constructed a fictional area within a
> real city.

A few cop-turned-novelists who've done this come to mind.

Maurice Procter, a twenty-year beat cop in England's Halifax Borough Police, wrote a long series about Inspector Harry Martineau that were set in the North England industrial city of "Granchester," apparently a fictionalized version of Manchester much as McBain's Isola is a fictionalized version of Manhattan.

Another Englishman, John Wainwright, my personal favorite cop/writer, spent two decades as on officer in the West Riding County Constabulary, before starting a long series of books set in the fictional cities of "Lessford" and "Bordfield," which are, as near as I can tell, fictional analogs for Leeds and Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Retired San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara created a fictional city in a real place. The real place is the collection of cities and unincorporated area in the portion of Santa Clara County south of the San Mateo County line and north of San Jose. The fictional city he sets there is called Silicon City. He simply imagined what might've happened if all those disparate communities decided to combine into one big town, than wrote a cop novel called FATAL COMMAND in which that happened.

Judith Smith-Levin was an officer in the Worcester, Mass, PD (is that town in the Boston Metro Area?) Her series cop, Detective Lieutenant Star Duvall, works in a New England town called Brookport. I'd say it's safe to assume that Brookport is, if not a fictional analog for Worcester, at least has a lot in common with the real-life town where Ms. Smith-Levin spent her law enforcement career.

Of course there are the classic HB examples. Raymond Chandler called Santa Monica "Bay City." Ross Macdonald called Santa Barbara "Santa Teresa" (a tradition Sue Grafton continues) and the Bay Area's Half Moon Bay "Luna Bay." I'm not sure whether or not anyone's ever figured out precisely what the model for Hammett's "Personville" is, but a lot of Hammett scholars think it's a fictionalized Butte, Montana
(which is a town Hammett mentions in the very first sentence of the book).


__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Find a job, post your resume.

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 08 Nov 2001 EST