January 28, 2020

Cocktail Talk: Maigret and the Millionaires, Part I

Image result for Maigret and the Millionaires\A little more Maigret never hurt anyone, right – heck, Maigret is seen as a cure-all in many countries, so more is actually beneficial. It feels like that to me every time I read a Maigret yarn I haven’t read at least (and luckily, I still have a ways to goes, as Mr. Simenon was very prolific). I picked up the latest, for me, in a Florence bookstore, bella-ly enough, and in it Maigret has to enter the world of the super-rich after a murder in Parisan luxury hotel the George V. Said murder happening after two folks had a bit of a do, with numerous sippers, as detailed below.


“Not at this time of night, Madame la Comtesse, but I’ll get in touch with the nurse…”

A little over an hour before, he had brought up to that very suite a bottle of Champagne, a bottle of whiskey, some soda water, and a bucket of ice. The bottles and glasses were still in the sitting room, except for one Champagne glass that had been overturned on the bedside table.


–George Simenon, Maigret and the Millionaires

January 14, 2020

Cocktail Talk: Framed In Guilt, Part II

Image result for framed in guilt day keeneWe started our Framed in Guilt Cocktail Talk-ing in Part I earlier this month – if you missed that, go check it out – with a first quote from the Day Keene classic reprinted in one volume along with another fine novel, My Flesh is Sweet. Here, protagonist and Hollywood writer (and murder suspect) Robert Stanton and lady friend are having a few drinks while not going to London, hahaha!


Fortifying himself with a double rye, he made a Tom Collins for Joy and joined them. “And where have you been,” Joy demanded.

Sitting down beside her, Stanton handed her the glass. “It wasn’t to London to see the queen. Scram, will you Bobby? I wouldst talk with my betrothed.”



–Day Keene, Framed in Guilt

January 7, 2020

Cocktail Talk: Framed In Guilt, Part I

Image result for framed in guilt day keeneI’ve been re-reading the Day Keene duo book (duo, as it contains two full novels – quite a Day deal, really) put out by Stark House, the one which contains both My Flesh is Sweet (which has its own My Flesh is Sweet Cocktail Talk in the Spiked Punch, and for that matter, check out all the Day Keene Cocktail Talk posts) and Framed in Guilt. And in said re-reading, a couple sweet quotes I should have highlighted the first time popped out to me. So, consider this Part I.  Framed in Guilt (which may well be the mighty pulp master Keene’s first!) is a fast-paced, well-plotted, yarn in the Keene style, in which Hollywood scripter Robert Stanton barrels around CA, with his past catching up to him (maybe?) and a murder or two hung on him, as well as nearly getting burned himself. It moves in the Keene manner! Which is a high compliment indeed. And they drink some Scotch, as well as other things. But below, Scotch.


The man at the wheel seemed to shrink. His coat was suddenly too large for his shoulders. It seemed difficult for him to breathe. “I didn’t know there was a child. Believe me.” He took a bottle from the glove compartment. “After that, I need a drink.”

“You might ask if I cared for one,” Grace said.

He handed her the bottle. It was dimpled bottle Scotch, and tasted as good as it smelled. Grace drank sparingly, then corked and returned the bottle to the glove compartment.


–Day Keene, Framed in Guilt

December 31, 2019

Cocktail Talk: I Shot the Buddha, Part II

I Shot the Buddha (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery Book 11) by [Cotterill, Colin]After realizing I’d never had a Dr. Siri Cocktail Talk just weeks ago, I’ve now decided that I must have another one, right now! If you missed I Shot the Buddha Part I, be sure to read it, A: so you can learn more about Dr. Siri (if you need to), and the mysteries starring him writen by Colin Cotterill, and also B: so you can read the quote where he begins drinking some Glenfiddich (also with wife Madame Daeng). See, the reason you need to do that, is the below quote is more the aftermath of said drinking! And has one of the best descriptions of being drunk I’ve ever heard – nicely done Mr. Cotterill! Hopefully it doesn’t apply to too many of you tonight!


Although he couldn’t coax the words from his mouth, he thought how he’d been standings since he was nice months old. It occurred to him he was drunk as a flock of bridesmaids. He attempted to show how good he was at standing, but he couldn’t find the ground beneath him, couldn’t feel his legs.


–Colin Cotterill, I Shot the Buddha

December 17, 2019

Cocktail Talk: I Shot the Buddha

I Shot the Buddha (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery Book 11) by [Cotterill, Colin]This is a weird day. I’m realizing that somehow (unless I’m just missing posts on my own blog, which is very very very possible) I’ve never had a Cocktail Talk featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun. Weird, right? I mean, you think so, too, I’m sure. If you don’t, it must mean you don’t know Dr. Siri, which would also be weird. But just in case, he’s the main character (and what a character!) in a series of books by a dandy writer named Colin Cotterill. Dr. Siri – at the beginning of the series – is the national coroner of Laos in the 70s, post communist revolution, and he solves a whole variety pack of mysteries in both traditional and non-traditional ways. The books are bubbling over with history, jolliness, a huge cast of memorable characters, spirits (Dr. Siri is the host of a thousand-year old shaman!), drinks and liquid spirits, insights into Laos at the time, fun, and at least two memorable dogs. The books are at the level of awesome where I sometimes forget that I don’t actually know Dr. Siri – which is high praise, I hope. You should read them all if you haven’t. I Shot the Buddha is especially full of magic and mystery (multiple mysteries, really), as Dr. Siri and his wife Madame Daeng (who also makes the best noodles) end up at a Thai village of spiritualists and mystics of various kinds – and it’s a spot where three murders have happened! Mr. Cotterill, in a kind gesture, says at the book’s beginning, “…this edition is headily spiced with supernatural elements. For those of you who prefer your mysteries dull and earthy, this is not the tome for you.” Let’s hope you like creative, individual, mysteries books as much as me, and as a much as Dr. Siri likes Scotch (and other tipples, between us).


As always, Siri’s travel baggage amounted to a small cloth shoulder bag with wool bobbles dangling from it. But everything he needed on a journey could fit comfortable into that bag. This evening it was oddly bulky. He reached into it and produced a bottle of whiskey, and not just any whiskey: Glenfiddich. Daeng welcomed it into her arms like a mother being handed her newborn for the first time.


–Colin Cotterill, I Shot the Buddha

December 3, 2019

Cocktail Talk: Bury Me Deep, Part II

bury-me-deepThe Hal Masur Cocktail Talking continues! Or Harold Q. Masur if you prefer (my guess is he wouldn’t have cared a whit). But either way – hard talking, hard drinking, hard lawyering, hardly ever skipping a chance to flirt lawyer Scott Jordan (Mr. Masur’s regular protagonist) is at it again here on the Spiked Punch, this time with a quote from the deadly-named Bury Me Deep. We had a swell Dubonnet and brandy-fueled quote in our Bury Me Deep, Part I Cocktail Talk many courtrooms ago, but I just re-read the book, along with other Jordan escapades, and had to put a second quote up here. And it’s right down below, and is one that reminded me of all the wonderful distillers I’ve known.


“Quite a coincidence,” I said. “I have a present for you.”

She pressed my arm lightly. “You’re a psychic. I love presents. Let’s have a drink on it.”

She poured some bourbon into a pair of thin jiggers and we touched glasses. It was fine bourbon. The distiller hadn’t become impatient. It was smooth as a hummingbird’s wing. She turned to me with a shine in her eyes.

“I’m terribly excited. What is it?”



Bury Me Deep, Harold Q. Masur

November 26, 2019

Cocktail Talk: So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead, Part III

so-rich-so-lovely-so-deadOkay, I have had a far-reaching trio of Cocktail Talks featuring Hal Masur’s lawyering-drinking-scrapping-cuddling 50’s lawyer Scott Jordan, as the first of the three quotes from the book was years ago. The second was just last week, and I’d suggest reading both to get your bearings in the case. This quote is a shorty, too, but does contain some words of wisdom for any burgeoning young business folks:


It was the kind of practice that needed plenty of front and Edward St. John Avery had it. A corner office, immense and square, sumptuous but dignified, with a sedate unit against the wall that he could magically transform into a glittering bar. Important clients are often weaned on spirituous liquids.


— Harold Q. Masur, So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead

November 19, 2019

Cocktail Talk: So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead

so-rich-so-lovely-so-deadMy Scott-Jordan-ing re-reading continues (see the Tall, Dark and Deadly post below for more on this lawyer-ing hero from the 1950s pockets-and-pulps) in nearly as fast a manner as Jordan gets in scraps, woos the ladies, sips the drinks, slings the punches and the smart remarks, and solves the murders. In this one, he’s about to provide some lawyer-ing help to a rather wealthy young lady/heiress, one with an artistic bent and a penchant for headlines and bad marriages, when she turns up murdered. Oops! The tag here is “How the other half dies” dontcha know. It’s a swell read (so much so that I’ve had a So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead Cocktail Talk already), moves quicks, turns and twists, and stop for drinks at the right spots, and, perhaps the only time I’ve seen this in an American book from the 50s, likes grappa. You can see why these books are worth re-reading.


We were in the mood for Italian food and I knew just the right place on Thompson Street in the Village. It was unpretentious and seldom crowded, but the cooking was superlative and the house wine fair. Between courses we read the paper.

“Anything special we’re looking for?” Susan wanted to know.

“Just keep your eyes peeled for news about any of the principals in the case.”

We kept at it after espresso and a shot of grappa.



— Harold Q. Masur, So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead

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