LOS ANGELES -- It was a dank, rain-sodden Raymond Chandler kind of morning, as if some omnipotent auteur had rung up the studio and ordered a classic film-noir sky. Cumulonimbus clouds the color of a snub-nosed revolver hovered with ominous intent, and tires on slickened freeway lanes gave off a sinister, knife-sharpening hiss.
Only a sap would be out on a day like this, searching for the seedy, serrated soul of L.A. noir.
Yet tourists often come here, searching for the Los Angeles of the 1930s, '40s and '50s. They seek remnants of a period when the city was an incubator of tawdriness, a place where corruption, double-dealing and unchecked passion gave rise to a literary and cinematic genre that to this day captures the imagination.