March 26, 2019
Way, way, back in the balmy days of 2009, I had a Cocktail Talk post from A.A. Fair, and went through how he was actually a nom de plume
(as they say) of Erle Stanley Gardner, at one time the biggest selling writer around thanks to his books about a certain lawyer named Perry Mason! You can see how I feel about all of that by reading past Erle Stanley Gardner Cocktail Talks
(short version: oddly enough, I tend to like the show better than the books, though they aren’t bad, and tend to have great covers, and I like the A.A. Fair books better for some reason). Here, though, is the neat thing about The Knife Slipped
. It was a lost manuscript, rejected at one time by Gardner’s publisher, and only recently re-found and published by the happening folks at Hard Case Crime. It’s a good read, too, staring Cool and Lam (Donald Cool and Bertha Lam), a detective team, and the book stands out as an early mystery for this detecting duo, giving more history around them, and just being a swell read on every side. Well worth picking up, whether you sit with me on the Gardner questions or not. And, there are slugs of Scotch.
“Dance,” I said.
Her voice was wistful. “Uh-huh. The floor is build out over the side hill, on an enclosed porch. You dance out from the tables onto this porch and look down over the city lights. They keep it almost dark out there, just a starlight effect.”
“It won’t be starlight tonight,” I said, “but a good shot of Scotch might help. How about it? Do you feel the same way about a slug of Scotch I do?
She hesitated a minute, and said, “I don’t know.”
–A.A. Fair/Erle Stanley Gardner, The Knife Slipped
May 22, 2012
My last post of a book from George Harmon Coxe was in 2008. Jaysus. I wonder how many drinks you’ve had since then? Who do you think’s had more, you, me, or Barack Obama? I only ask cause when that last post went up, it was August 26th, 2008, the same day he was nominated for Pres. Anyway, I digress. Much like that that last Cocktail Talk post way back when, this GHC (that’s what he wanted to be called after two rye shots) quote is from a book featuring mystery-solving photographer Kent Murdock. That sounds like a career path every kid should aspire to. This pocket-book is called Eye Witness, and in it Kent roughs up and gets roughed up, uncovers the clues, charms the ladies, and has a fair number of drinks. In the below quotes, it’s actually both the charms and the drinks:
She laughed aloud. The third sidecar had begun its work, and the reserve, the slight touch of haughtiness that had once marker her speech and manner, slide away. The flush that brushed her cheeks was becoming and her voice was more throaty and somewhat less cultivated.
Murdock asked Leone if she would have a brandy. She thought a B&B would be fine so he had the brandy. Only then, when the waiter took the other things away, was Murdock able to sit back and give his attention completely to his companion. ‘That was all right,’ he said. ‘Marvelous.’ She was watching him now, the faint flush in her cheeks giving her a new radiance that was attractive and promising. The cocktails had apparently done their work well for she seemed relaxed and at ease, content; it seemed to leave the next move up to him.
—Eye Witness, George Harmon Coxe