January 18, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Dombey and Son, Part V

dombeyandsonYou know (cause you know things) I love Dickens, and have many Charles Dickens Cocktail Talks on this very blog thingy, and cause of that (the love), I tend to re-read his books on the regular, and one of my favs is one not quite as well know, Dombey and Son. To get all the particulars of why it’s a fav, to read loads of cocktail and spirits (and dog!) quotes from the book, well, let me point you to the Dombey and Son Cocktail Talks Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV, instead of prattling on again here. Instead, I’ll just prattle that I’ve recently re-read the book once again (and I will again, I’m sure!), and had to have at least one more Cocktail Talk. So, here it is, featuring Cap’n Cuttle himself, along with his bestie Sol and said Sol’s niece Walter.

 

‘Ah!’ he said, with a sigh, ‘it’s a fine thing to understand ’em. And yet it’s a fine thing not to understand ’em. I hardly know which is best. It’s so comfortable to sit here and feel that you might be weighed, measured, magnified, electrified, polarized, played the very devil with: and never know how.’

    Nothing short of the wonderful Madeira, combined with the occasion (which rendered it desirable to improve and expand Walter’s mind), could have ever loosened his tongue to the extent of giving utterance to this prodigious oration. He seemed quite amazed himself at the manner in which it opened up to view the sources of the taciturn delight he had had in eating Sunday dinners in that parlour for ten years. Becoming a sadder and a wiser man, he mused and held his peace.

    ‘Come!’ cried the subject of this admiration, returning. ‘Before you have your glass of grog, Ned, we must finish the bottle.’

    ‘Stand by!’ said Ned, filling his glass. ‘Give the boy some more.’

    ‘No more, thank’e, Uncle!’

    ‘Yes, yes,’ said Sol, ‘a little more. We’ll finish the bottle, to the House, Ned – Walter’s House. Why it may be his House one of these days, in part. Who knows? Sir Richard Whittington married his master’s daughter.’

 

–Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son

January 4, 2022

Cocktail Talk: The Last Score

last-scoreHere’s an interesting tidbit – when I picked up this Pocket Books book (which is actually pocket-sized), called The Last Score, I didn’t even read the back-cover summation closely, taking it for granted that it was both written by Ellery Queen (which is in fact one pseudonym for two people writing together: Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee) and starring their mystery writer/crime solving main character Ellery Queen. A strange state of affairs I find amazing, even though I haven’t read a ton of Ellery Queen books (also strange, as those books and stories I’ve read starring Mr. Queen I’ve enjoyed, which is probably why I picked up this one). Which is why when I started actually, you know, reading, I was surprised to find he’s not in this book at all. I kept trying to find him, but nope. Instead, it stars Texan travel agent (adventure travel only, that is) Reid Rance, who goes as a chaperon/bodyguard with a rich Texas lass who wants to live the on the road lifestyle a bit, and then trouble ensues, as you might expect. More adventure, less mystery, perhaps not what I was expecting, but not too bad. I did keep thinking, “well, Ellery Queen’s gonna show;” but nope, he never did. And I have now learned to read the back book cover more closely! Though if I had in this situation, I might have missed the below Cocktail Talk, I suppose.

 

He felt the vulture claw in his belly again then a sudden thirst. Locals were used to American tourists drinking in mid-morning.

Reid turned away from the plaza and walked into the bar of the Hotel Mexico. There he ordered a straight Bacardi, drank it quickly, ordered a second. The second he drank slowly, chasing it with Tehuacán.

 

–Ellery Queen, The Last Score

 

December 26, 2021

Cocktail Talk: The Philadelphia Story

philadelphia-storyIf you can, picture this: it is 86 years ago today (you have to use your imagination here, people). You are with the family, or friends, or just solo, and decide to go to a movie. What do you pick? Why The Philadelphia Story, of course. Romance, comedy, and the legendary trio of Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart? How could you go to anything else! And then, while watching you get to hear the below quote, which is an ideal Cocktail Talk. Of course, it being today and not 86 years ago, you can just stream up said movie. Go to!

 

Champagne’s funny stuff. I’m used to whiskey. Whiskey is a slap on the back, and Champagne’s a heavy mist before my eyes.

 

–Jimmy Stewart, The Philadelphia Story

December 21, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Some Slips Don’t Show, Part III

some-slips-don't-showAs we wind our way into the final Some Slips Don’t Show Cocktail Talk (by the way: love the book cover here!), we find ourselves back at a situation touched on briefly in the book’s Cocktail Talk Part I (don’t miss Part II, either), where the real star of the series, detective Donald Lam (don’t tell his partner Bertha Cool I said he was the star, though), is getting cuddlier with one of the murder suspects in this here tale. And, as happens in the books (written by Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A.A. Fair), this cuddling, or prelude to cuddling, happens over drinks. Doubles, even.

A waiter came over and she ordered a double Manhattan.

“Single for me,” I said.

“Bring him a double, she said, smiling at the waiter. “I don’t want to get ahead of him.”

The waiter nodded and withdrew.

We nibbled pretzels and did a little verbal sparring until the waiter came back with the Manhattans. They were both doubles.

 

–A.A. Fair, Some Slips Don’t Show

December 14, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Some Slips Don’t Show, Part II

some-slips-don't-showBefore we dive into our second quote and Cocktail Talk from the Cool and Lam (being Bertha Cool and Donald Lam, the star of this book and others) mystery in question, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you towards the Some Slips Don’t Show Part I Cocktail Talk, and all the Erle Stanley Gardner Cocktail Talks (he being the writer of said book, as his Cool and Lam-writing alias A.A. Fair, as well as being the writer of course of some books about a lawyer named Perry Freaking Mason), so you can enjoy more drinking fun, after you enjoy the below (which also gives some nice short insight into the Cool and Lam partnership).

 

“Fifty-seven smackers in one chunk?” she asked, he voice rasping.

“Right.”

“What’s it for? You could have got that broad drunk on gin at a total cost of five bucks. Why the Champagne?”

“It’s for a painting,” I said. “I bought it. It’s called ‘Sun over the Sahara’ and I’m going to put it in a purple frame and –”

“This is long distance, you drunken idiot,” Bertha screamed at me.

 

–A.A. Fair, Some Slips Don’t Show

December 7, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Some Slips Don’t Show, Part I

some-slips-don't-showI have had enough A.A. Fair Cocktail Talks and Erle Stanley Gardner Cocktail Talks on the ol’ Spiked Punch for those that don’t know to now know they are the same person, right? Well, the latter, Mr. Erle, is the person I suppose, and the former, Mr. A.A., just a nom de plume (as they say), but I like to hope he at least wore different hats when writing as different people. Anyway, I’ve had a fair (haha!) enough amount of Cocktail Talks as mentioned for you to go back through them to browse my thoughts on the two personas, on the books written by them, and my feelings therein. So, don’t miss that! Cause I’m not going to go over it all here, instead want to jump right in to the drink-y quotes from this book, Some Slips Don’t Show, which stars (as all the A.A. Fair books, I believe) detective Donald Lam, and to a lesser extent, his partner Bertha Cool. In this yarn, they end up with a client who isn’t completely sure if he cheated on his wife while in San Francisco, but may be being blackmailed. Curious! And then there is a murder, and some art, and a modern lady beguiled by the diminutive (in height, somewhat, but not in smarts or stick-tuitive-ness) and dashing Donald, as ladies tend to be. But before said beguiling, there’s background around the client, who it seems had himself a night.

 

She laughed a throaty, musical laugh. “Trying to play the big, bad wolf was pretty much of a strain on him. He was out of character.”

“I can imagine,” I said. “What happened?”

“He started drinking Champagne like water on top of some fruit punch. The combination didn’t agree with him.”

“So, what happened?”

“He went to the bathroom.”

“Then what?”

“Do you have to know all the details?”

 

–A.A. Fair, Some Slips Don’t Show

 

November 23, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard, Part II

maigret-man-on-the-boulevardAnother quote from the Chief Inspector Maigret yarn I’ve been most recently reading (as opposed to all of those I’ve read in the past: check out all the Maigret Cocktail Talks to get a view into some of them – at least don’t miss the Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard Part I Cocktail Talk, to learn more about this particular book by George Simenon), one where our main character sits down in a very serious and thinking mood at his favorite of all Parisian spots – or the one he visits the most, which is saying something, though it is right across from his office – and gives the waiter a little of the Maigret-ness so many criminal have to deal with.

“What’s the Veau Marengo like?”

“Excellent, Monsieur Maigret.”

Without realizing it, he was subjecting the waiter to a look that could not have been sterner if he had been a suspect under interrogation.

“Beer, sir?”

“No. A half-bottle of claret.”

He was just being perverse. If the waiter had suggested wine, he would have ordered beer.

 

–George Simenon, Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard

November 16, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard, Part I

maigret-man-on-the-boulevardI’m back into another George Simenon yarn starring Parisian Inspector Maigret (there have been many Maigret Cocktail Talks you can browse at will), an ideal read for a rainy November day, as during a fair part of Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard Paris is engulfed in heavy rains. And our stolid, stoic, Chief Inspector (to give him his full due) moves along through the wet and dry and cloudy days in his own particular way: slow at times, thoughtful at times, dreamy (can I say that? I did!) at times, but always pushing forward. His case this time involves the murder of a man who had a second-life of sorts, pointed out first by the fact that he was murdered wearing light brown shoes, shoes which his wife swears he didn’t own, and which Maigret calls “goose-dung” shoes, due to the color. That’s amazing! Maigret follows the various threads, spooling them up one-by-one, while stopping for various sips along the way: wine, Calvados, aperitives, more, maybe even more than usual (one of the many reasons I love Maigret so much is his love of bars, bistros, brasseries, and other eating-and-watering holes. Even when they are around-the-corner, as in the below).

 

“Where to now chief?”

It was just eleven o’clock.

“Stop at the first bistro you come to.”

“There’s one next door to the shop.”

Somehow, he felt shy of going in there, under Leone’s watchful eye.

“We’ll find one round the corner.”

He wanted to ring Monsieur Kaplan, and to consult the street guide, to find Monsieur Saimbron’s exact address on the Quai de la Megisserie.

While he was there, having started the day with a Calvados, he thought he might as well have another, and drank it standing at the bar counter.

 

–George Simenon, Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard

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