January 12, 2010

Cocktail Talk: Murder in Havana

Some days (January days, often, as it seems January is not only a cold month temperature-wise, but also a cold month life-wise, being the month of re-orgs, and silly resolutions, and uncomfortable whatnots. And if not all those actually happen, there tends to be the threat of all those, anyways) you need a bit of boozy medicine. If you’re in need, then you’ll especially like this quote from an old pulp called Murder in Havana. Which is about, funny enough, a bunch of murders in Havana, that our main character “Andy” tipsily stumbles in to (it’s not my pal Andy Sweet–who was one of the writers of Battleship, Battleship, Battleship–though it could have been, cause both are go-get-um guys). Anywho, Andy thinks that sometimes you just have to take your medicine (booze, that is). Here, see for yourself:

His bag was already on the customs bench and he opened it for a uniformed inspector who made but a cursory examination until he found the leather-covered flask. He unscrewed it, sniffed rum, grinned. ‘Medicine,’ he said. ‘Medicine.’ Andy grinned back at him and opened the briefcase.


Murder in Havana, George Harmon Coxe

Becca said:

Hey AJ! So, as I think I’ve said before, I really dig these Cocktail Talk posts. I’ve actually never read any sort of pulp fiction, but am interested in checking it out! Got any author recommendations for someone just being introduced to the genre?

admin said:

Hey, glad you like the talking posts (wouldn’t it be cool if I was actually talking–or if you could click the quote and it was me reading it? Okay, maybe that would just be cool for me). As far as the pulps and the noirs, I’m no expert, but starting with the big names isn’t actually a bad idea. Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Jim Thompson are all good. I’m also big on Cornell Woolrich–a little lesser known, but dandy. Sometimes, between us, I also just look for fun covers (the pulps are great for this) and trust that the story will be lurid, boozy, and gun-packed. Oh, Hard Case crime (they have good covers usually too) tends to be somewhat reliable, and also reprint lots of good old pulps. Oh, you know, if you a see a quote you like on here, just trying to track down the book isn’t a bad idea, too. I usually at least like them a bit if I put up a quote. Or like something about them. Or like that they mention drinks (hey, that was probably obvious). Cheers!

phismi said:

I’m wearing my uncomfortable whatnots right now.

Just yesterday I heard someone say, “there are two kinds of people in the world; Hammett fans and Chandler fans.” Apparently for some they are like the Cubs and White Sox. You can only like one. Not sure if that’s true.

I second the Hard Case Crime stuff. Affordable reprints and some nifty pulp covers. I like Max Allan Collins, Donald Westlake, Robert Parker, Max Phillips, Lawrence Block … to name a few and in no particular order. Stay the hell away from Ken Bruen and Jason Starr unless cut-rate Tarantino torture porn is your scene.

Wow, never knew I even had these opinions …

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