August 14, 2018
The memorably-titled, Wichita-based, PI-featuring, crime-and-criminals riddled, mystery and murder-packed pocket-style book Hot Summer, Cold Murder
by Gaylord Dodd had too many Cocktail Talk moments to just have one post from it (if you missed Hot Summer, Cold Murder Part
I, then please read it now, as it’ll give you more background). I actually like this quote even more than the first, though it doesn’t feature muscatel, our hero’s (hero of sorts, that is) favorite summertime tipple. But the below quote is a fabulous one, summing up a certain type of bar at a certain time period perfectly:
Tom Silver’s big red and white face swam in an ocean of bar glasses hanging from a rack above the bar. He was the perfect bartender. He spoke when spoken to and otherwise stood leaning against the counter with his arms folded across the massive pad of his enormous gut. The drinks he made were clean and when you ordered call-booze you got what you called. When some woman you were with ordered a Gin Fizz or a Gold Cadillac, Tom made it quickly, correctly, and without the condescending leer of the bartender whose only desire is to stir a jigger of whiskey into a six-ounce tumbler with Seven-Up.
“Waddle it be, Mr. Roberts?”
“Old Grandad with water back, please Tom.”
— Gaylord Dodd, Hot Summer, Cold Murder
December 10, 2013
Interestingly, much like Rex Stout (who I just Cocktail Talked below), I haven’t read a lot of Carter Dickson, even though his mysteries fall into some areas I like inhabiting. Example A: his Sir Henry Merrivale mysteries, of which The Punch and Judy Murders is one. They’re full of twists, take place in Jolly Old England, and have a main mystery-solver who is quirky and overweight. I’m for all of those things! But I still haven’t read much of Mr. Dickson. But this book was fairly rapid, had a good ending, and some memorable moments. Perhaps none as much as when one of the characters shows up with a tray of delicious drinks.
Charters handed round some admirable gin fizzes. A little of his old sharpness, his old doggedness, had come back when he had begun to outline his facts. He sat down on the veranda rail, his arms folded and his hands cradled under bony elbows.
— Carter Dickson, The Punch and Judy Murders
February 27, 2009
I love old pulp novels (the pocket book size especially), with their snazzy (and sometimes silly-ly sexy) covers, mysteries, and generally jazzed up writing. Not to mention that the characters within tend to drink lots and the reading tends to be roll quickly and be perfect when accompanied by a drink–if it’s a drink that’s in the book, even better.
Maybe it’s not a celebrated piece of detective fiction (though the story’s not that bad), but if you can find the book No Business for a Lady, it’s perfect for when you want to match the cocktail you’re having with the cocktail the main character (a feisty redhead with an hourglass figure, of course) is having, because the range of drinks she has is wider than most. As evidence: the three quotes below. So, go pour yourself something and open a book, for gawd’s sake.
Although the doors were wide-open and the temperature was in the nineties outside, it was air conditioned and cool in the dimly lighted interior. I picked out a booth and sat down, and when the waiter came I ordered a Gin Rickey.
And just to prove to him that I knew how to take care of the whips and jingles, I built a couple of Ramos Fizzes.
My stomach was still queasy so I went to the bar downstairs and mixed myself a Gin Fizz.