I recently picked up a random read from Madison Smartt Bell called Straight Cut. If I’ve ever read a book by Mr. Bell, I’ve forgotten it (sorry!), but this one was from the reliable Hard Case Crime label, had a great cover, and at least (so the cover told me) takes place partially in Rome. I’m all for all three of those, so I dove in. And it’s a dandy read, sort-of a thoughtful caper revolving a bit around films and film-making, with lots in Rome, and lots (which is why I’m mentioned it here on this blog) of nice drink-y moments. Enough so that I’m going to put a couple Straight Cuts quotes on here – two posts worth! Starting with this one that starts with a question and ends with mint:
Did I want a drink or did I want a drink? I reached out my hand then thought, don’t get belting it out of the bottle, that’s not the way. Get a glass and some ice at least. Then I decided I’d do it fancy, go out in the field and pick some mint for my drink.
There wasn’t enough moon to make much light, and I went stumbling over clumps of uncut grass until my eyes adjusted to the dark. The ground here on the flat was spongy from the rain, and it was pleasantly cool. The mint grew wild in a ditch somewhere about halfway across the field, which I found by tripping into it, soaking myself to the knees.
I picked a handful of broad leaves and a couple of tops for decoration. The fine sweet smell rose from the stalks as I broke them, and it covered both of my hands. I tore a leaf and chewed it on my way back toward the house. It was a quiet night. No drunk teenage drivers for me to pick out of my fence, not yet anyway.
I thought I might not want a drink anymore once I’d had my healthy little walk, but I was wrong. I did. In fact, I wanted two big drinks.
— Straight Cut, Madison Smartt Bell