L.A. SLEEPERS Locations: Bel Air

L.A. SLEEPERS Locations: Bel Air
by Dakota Donovan

bel air

In my novel, L.A. SLEEPERS: A Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery, I travel to an  upscale enclave of Los Angeles known as Bel Air — the most affluent neighborhood in the city, located about twelve miles west of downtown. The community was founded in 1923 by Alphonzo Bell (hence, “Bel” Air), who purchased a large ranch that he subdivided into residential properties. The following excerpt describes my first visit to the area.

Excerpt from Chapter 14 of L.A. SLEEPERS: A Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery by Dakota Donovan

To reach Pauline Granton’s address in Bel Air, I take Sunset to Sepulveda and drive north to Skirball Center Drive, an artery that turns into Mulholland Drive and takes me to the north gate of the pricey enclave.

Bel Air is the most exclusive area of Los Angeles—a location where only the wealthy, super-wealthy, and uber-wealthy can afford to live. In his heyday during the 1930s and 1940s, Duke Galveston owned numerous homes in Bel Air, saying he liked the area because it was close to the golf course.

Pauline Granton’s house is somewhere down a narrow winding road crowded with the biggest trees I’ve seen in Los Angeles. I want to take a closer look at these magnificent specimens, but have to keep my eyes on the road—my challenged depth perception makes it difficult to gauge street widths, and I’m afraid of rolling off into a ditch.

I have the sensation I’m traveling through a Hansel and Gretel forest, and guess the area’s planners intended it this way—the residents wishing to obscure their homes from anyone driving by.

I keep looking for address numbers to indicate where I am—a mailbox, a lamppost, something, anything—but realize I’m in an addressless void, an exclusive zone where the only way to get to your destination is to have been there before.

After driving up and down the road for a mile in either direction, I spot something large and yellow flashing through gaps in the foliage—and hope it isn’t one of the mountain lions that live in the vicinity.

As I drive, I think about how much of L.A. is wild and untamed—bears, cougars, bobcats, deer, skunks, foxes, coyotes, plus mountains, canyons, the ocean, the desert, cacti, palm trees, redwoods, and on and on. Taken together, everything seems so surreal that it’s hard to believe the area exists on planet Earth—especially so close to the L.A. megapolis.

I pull into a narrow pathway and drive beyond the trees and foliage until I spot a butter-yellow BMW that looks as if it might be older than my Toyota. On the phone, Pauline Granton had told me to keep and eye out for a yellow BMW, though I’m lucky to have found it on this unmarked road…

End of Excerpt

Find L.A. SLEEPERS: A Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery at Amazon.com

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