Notorious San Francisco: True Tales of Crime, Passion and Murder


San Francisco, a city founded in part by criminals, was once one of the most dangerous cities in America. Its Barbary coast was called “a unique criminal district that was the scene of more viciousness and depravity, but it possessed more glamour, than any other area on the American continent.”

“San Francisco Notorious” brings back the glamorous depravity and noir atmosphere that made it the premier location for murder thrillers like “The Maltese Falcon,” “Vertigo,” and “Zodiac.”

This book contains more than 20 compelling tales of serial killers, deadly women, con-men, masters of escape, and unsolved mysteries. San Franciscan criminals were as colorful as the city they inhabited. Take William Thoreson, a murderous millionaire who hid the nation’s largest private armory in his Pacific Heights mansion. Then there’s Isabella Martin, the murderous “Queen of Grudges” who tried to poison an entire town, or Ethan McNabb and Lloyd Sampsell, the “Yacht Bandits,” who used a luxurious sloop as a getaway vehicle for their dozens of bank robberies.

Most of these unusual cases are largely unknown and have never appeared in book form. Included are cases that are still mysteries today, including the mysterious tale of the Zodiac Killer, complete with a new analysis and a startling new theory on the murder.

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