February 16, 2011

Cocktail Talk: The Levanter

Another from Eric Ambler (following up the Coffin for Dimitrios below), from another of his political thrillers. Now, the political thrillers don’t get me all giddy as much as other books that sometimes share the same shelves (no-one says “dame” in a political thriller for one thing), but the Amblers (as I’m affectionately calling them) are written well, and, well, the characters tend to have lots of cocktails, drinks, and booze (in various forms). And the plots are never that bad, either. The Levanter‘s all Middle East terrorist business, and tends to roll heavy on the brandy. Much like this quote, which also demonstrates how to use cocktails to your advantage in serious discussions:

I gave him a champagne cocktail with plenty of brandy in it, which he drank thirstily as if it were water. I gave him a cigar and lit it for him. He sat back in his chair and looked around. Though he was clearly impressed, he seemed perfectly at ease. This suited me. I wanted him relaxed and in as expansive a mood as possible. All the stiffness was going to be on my side. I continued to address him respectfully as Comrade Salah, and fussed a little. As soon as he had finished his first cocktail I immediately gave him another in a fresh glass.


The Levanter, Eric Ambler

December 8, 2010

Cocktail Talk: A Coffin for Dimitrios

Isn’t the name here ominous? Well, the book, by Eric Ambler, is less so, though Dimitrios is a rough character. This mystery-international-intrigue novel actually isn’t as cliff-hanger-ish as it wants to be, but it does globe trot across some interesting southern-European, Northern African, Easter European locales, and they drink it up somewhat along the way, which I have no problem with—heck, I don’t even have too much problem with the lack of mystery, as long the scenery is so jumping. Here are two quotes that round out this book’s particular bar:

‘Will you have a drink?’ said Latner. The Russian’s eyes flickered open and he looked round like a man regaining consciousness. He said: ‘If you like. I will have an absinthe please. Avec de la glace*.’

She had had a Mandarine Curaçao in front of her and now she had drunk it down thirstily. Latiner had cleared his throat.


A Coffin for Dimitrios, Eric Ambler


*If you wondered, this means “with some ice.”

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