I haven’t perused many pages written by Sax Rohmer, who was one of – if not the, at least for a moment or two – best-selling mystery/adventure/action writers of his early-to-mid last century timeframe. Like too many of his contemporaries, he was fairly awful or deplorable, or really, in how he depicted people not exactly like him (other races, other genders, pretty much anything he would have thought of as “other”), and it makes reading much of his work not something I want to delve into, when there are many other things to read! However, I did receive a copy of stories by him recently, called The Secret of Holm Peel, and Other Strange Stories, and felt I should give it a whirl, and can admit that in the main, not too bad a collection. More adventure than strange (though there’s a demonic presence or two), and covering the basis of last-century adventure stories: meaning, there’s a pirate story, a swashbuckling story (the difference between those two genres is there, my friends!), a haunted castle and a haunted cliff story, all that. And a WW II story, naturally, which is called “Brother Wing Commanders,” and which is really a bird story combined with a hospital story and a little romance! That’s where this Cocktail Talk is coming from, a quote which contains a whisky line I hope to remember to use in the future!
“Inquiry from Buckingham Palace yesterday – and the eats and drinks! Why, Charles will be fatter than Goering if he goes to it! Yes, thanks a lot, it would set me up . . . Please excuse me reminding you, but your whisky is too good to deserve drowning. That’s fine.” There was a breathless interval.
–Sax Rohmer, “Brother Wing Commanders”