August 8, 2017
Oddly (as odd as snow in Miami, some might say), though I’ve mentioned my gushing affection for the Hoke Mosely books by Charles Willeford
(and how I wish there were more, and how the non-Hoke Willefords are swell, too), I’ve never had a Cocktail Talk post from the very first one, Miami Blues
, which is I suppose the best known, due to a movie made (a pretty good movie, too, featuring a very young Alec Baldwin as our young psychopath and a fine Fred Ward as the hero-of-sorts Hoke). I need to watch it again, now that I think about it! The book’s great, too, greater, really, with no shade thrown on the movies. Books are just better! Hoke, as shown below, has a love of Early Times, which I also like. Here’s what you should do – take a Saturday and read the book, then watch the movie, all while drinking Early Times. That’ll be a day to remember!
Hoke took one of the Manila envelopes out of his leisure jacket pocket and counted out $100 on the bar. He pushed the money across to Irish Mike. “Take care of my tab, and leave what’s over as a credit.”
“Your credit’s always good here, sergeant. You know that. I’ll just check your tab and give you back the change.”
“No. Leave it. I want to see what it feels like to have a credit for a change. Early Times. Straight up. Water back.”
“Similar,” Henderson said.
–Charles Willeford, Miami Blues
March 30, 2010
The last week or two, I reread all the Hoke Moseley books by Charles Willeford. If you don’t them, or Mr. Willeford’s work, and you know how to read, then change your reading patterns. Or get out. That’s how I sound after reading them, but it’s not how they sound, because they’re not as fake tough (and some of the less-detective/etc ones not at all), but what I like to think of as naturalistically insane. Very matter of factly crazy somehow. Hoke Moseley is a Miami detective, who deals with some criminals but also ends up taking care of his teenage daughters and his pregnant partner (well, she’s not always pregnant, as she has a baby in one of them) and various random Floridians. He drinks Early Times mostly (though isn’t opposed to other options) and has false teeth. This isn’t really saying much really about the books, but this might help: I think if I could have one more book written of any series, I might choose to have one more Hoke Moseley book written by Charles Willeford. If that tells you anything (I wonder what other people would pick with this option? What would you choose?) This quote is from Sideswipe, the 3rd of 4 Moseley books.
Frank was in his den, watching a lacrosse game on cable, and Helen was in the living room. She sat at her fruitwood desk, addressing envelopes and enclosing mimeographed letters requesting donations for the Palm Beach Center for Abused Children. She was on the last few envelopes when Hoke joined her in the living room. He poured three ounces of Chivas Regal at the bar, added two ice cubes, and gave himself a splash of soda. Helen looked over her shoulder and smiled. “I’m about finished Hoke. Could you fix me a pink gin please?”
“Tanqueray or Beefeater?”
“It doesn’t make any difference when you add bitters, so I’d just as soon have Gordon’s.”
Because it did make a difference, Hoke poured three ounces of Tanqueray into a crystal glass, added ice cubes, and put in a liberal sprinkling of Angostura bitters. He took a cocktail napkin from the stack and put the napkin and drink on the edge of the desk where Helen could reach it.
“Thank you,” Helen sipped her drink. “This is Tanqueray.”
“There is a difference then.”
—Charles Willeford, Sideswipe
PS: The other Willeford books (not in this series) are also darn fine. Especially The Pick Up (one of the great, and the first book by him I read), and Cockfighter (which was of course made into the fine, fine movie starring the best actor ever, Warren Oates).