Thanks to the British Library Crime Classics collections (which I’ve Cocktail Talked from a few times), I’ve discovered a number of authors I didn’t know before, ones who were read more in the earlier parts of the last century, including Arthur Morrison. A mystery and crime writer (usually with stories featuring his detective Arthur Hewitt, said stories told by said detective’s neighbor, journalist Brett, in a Watson/Holmes-y way), as well as a more straight fiction writer and journalist and writer about Japanese art. I liked his stories read is those mystery anthologies, so picked up The Collected Arthur Morrison. I haven’t read everything in it, but have read I think all of the Hewitt stories, and they tend to be pretty swell, in the Holmes deductive reasoning vein, but a bit more of an everyman while doing it in a way. He was one of the few at the time (or anytime) to rival Holmes in popularity, too. Some stories in the collection are completely regrettable, but those are in the minority. Not a lot of Cocktail Talking in them, sadly, but there was one story, about a heaping helping of gold on a ship that foundered, which involved diving to check out the scene, and, via the diving, the introduction of a new drink to me.
“That’s the dress that Gullen usually has,” Merrick remarked. “He’s a very smart fellow; we usually send him first to make measurements and so on. An excellent man, but a bit too fond of the diver’s lotion.”
“What’s that?” asked Hewitt.
“Oh, you shall try some if you like, afterwards. It’s a bit too heavy for me; rum and gin mixed, I think.”
A red nightcap was placed on Martin Hewitt’s head, and after that a copper helmet, secured by a short turn in the segmental screw joint at the neck.
–Arthur Morrison, “The Nicobar Bullion Case”