Steinbeck’s first months in Brooklyn in 1925 expose him to a forlorn world that leaves a lasting impression. In his letters Steinbeck reveals his struggle to deal with the city and his own writer’s block even as he looks for source material in “the subway face and the blundering revelers in the street.” The use of contemporary periodicals and new approaches to Steinbeck’s fiction reveal how the tragedies that befell Steinbeck in Brooklyn intimately shape “The Murder” (1934).