March 29, 2022

Cocktail Talk: The Crazy Kill, Part III

crazy-killIt’s been eight years since my last Cocktail Talk post (The Crazy Kill Part II) from Chester Himes’ book The Crazy Kill, and twelve since my first (The Crazy Kill Part I, as you might imagine) – by all the bottles in the bar, time passes too quickly! You should for sure go back and read both those posts and the quotes from the book highlighted within, but let me also underline a few things: first, Chester Himes (who wrote all sorts of amazing works – see all Chester Himes Cocktail Talks, too) is awesome, and if you haven’t read anything by him, it’s a must do. Second, this book is one of his series featuring his Harlem-based police detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, two of the most memorable characters in detective fiction, inhabiting a perfectly rendered (as far I can tell, and I certainly feel transported when reading the books featuring them) 1950s-60s specific time-and-place. Third (and if the above haven’t sold you, this will), the book really kicks off by an opium-addicted preacher falling out of a window and landing in a bread-basket – which saves his life, but which also leads to realizing there is a dead body in the bread-basket! I just had to have another quote from the book:


“Jesus Christ!” he exclaimed. “Peach brandy and laudanum. You drink this stuff?”


“It’s for my nerves,” Reverend Short said.


–Chester Himes, The Crazy Kill


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