November 22, 2016

Cocktail Talk: You Can’t Live Forever, Part II

you-cant-live-foreverSee, I told you (in Part I) that I’d probably have a second quote from Hal Masur’s (aka Harold Q. Masur) lawyer-y pulp-y book from last century, You Can’t Live Forever. And here we are! Check out the below, and know that I can predict the future.

It was a nice quiet bar on a side street off Park Avenue, cool and dim and silken, a high-class oasis with retiring waiters and a hushed atmosphere. The chairs were softly pliant to make you comfortable and the pretzels crisp and dry to keep you thirsty. Enclosed booths ringed the room and smoke wove a gauze-like web that hung motionless in the still air.

We were on our third pair of Martinis and were calling each other by our first names. Conversation so far had been limited to that polite badinage used between two people on mutual fishing expeditions. I was in rare form.

— Hal Masur, You Can’t Live Forever

November 15, 2016

Cocktail Talk: You Can’t Live Forever

you-cant-live-foreverIt’s been too long since I’ve had any quotes from the lawyer-y pulp-y writer Hal Masur (also known as Harold Q. Masur), who writes about one Scott Jordan – a lawyer (you might have guessed that), who also likes a good drink, dames, bars, and isn’t afraid to roughhouse it up. Just what you’d want in a 1940s and 50s pocket-y book leading man. I recently re-read the Masur classic (well, in its way) You Can’t Live Forever, which has a great cover, and which is a rollicking read. Heck, I may need to have two Cocktail Talk posts from it! But let’s start with the below, which has Scotch and cigars.

He hung a humidor of long Havana fillers under my nose. He let me see the label on a bottle of Macnish.He poured generously and put a brief squirt from a syphon of bubble water on top. Ice cubes dropped and a swizzle stick clinked. He put the glass into my hand and a silver lighter broke into flame at the end of my cigar.

— Hal Masur, You Can’t Live Forever

January 21, 2014

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

so-rich-so-lovely-so-deadHere’s a wee cocktail-spoons-worth of wisdom from the hopefully not completely forgotten American pocket-pulps-and-mysteries writer Harold Q. Masur (sometimes known as Hal). I tend to agree more with the latter sentiment in his first sentence below, though I’m not necessarily opposed to a good morning drink, unless I have a long afternoon meeting (hey, no need to nap in a meeting – I like to nap on the couch). Oh, this book also has one of the finest titles I’ve ever seen. And a great cover, too. Heck, pick it up, have a Scotch, and start reading.

Generally, I don’t like to consume liquor before lunch, but drinking with a man is a good recipe for getting on his right side. Muir was in the mood to talk and I ordered double Scotches to help loosen his tongue. The time of day meant nothing to him.

Harold Q. Masur, So Rich, So Lovely, and So Dead, 1952

November 9, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Bury Me Deep

It’s been over two years since I had a quote up here from Harold Q. Masur (though, between us, I’m guessing he hasn’t noticed), who I like cause books I have by him fit into my pockets, and because his characters don’t shy away from the sauce, and cause in the below quote he mentions three delicious boozes, and because he isn’t pulp enough to be distracting, and isn’t so light as to float away into a land of cotton candy and unicorns. Though, honestly, that doesn’t sound bad, either. Anyway, this is from a book called Bury Me Deep, and it involves a lawyerly type chasing around a drunken literary type and a girl. Which, honestly, doesn’t sound much different than some afternoons I had way back when (except the lawyerly type part).

A marble-eyed waiter with a pushed-in face and a malevolent twist to his mouth came over, snapped a napkin, nodded. I ordered bourbon for myself, Dubonnet for Dulcy, and Bob ordered a bottle of Napoleon for himself.

Bury Me Deep, Harold Q. Masur

September 8, 2009

Cocktail Talk: Tall, Dark and Deadly

Hey, happy Mon-Tuesday. Just hold off before calling me calendarily challenged. I know today is really Tuesday, and that there is no Mon-Tuesday day. But as it’s the day after a Monday holiday, all of us working slobs (those who work the regular work-week at least) going back to work feel like it’s a Monday, cause it’s the first day of the week with the good times that entails (sing it now, good times, any time you need a favor), but it’s actually Tuesday. Hence the Mon-Tuesday. What does this mean in the world of boozing and spiking of punches? That it’s a fine time for a quote by Hal Masur (who in his full name is Harold Q. Masur, as seen in this post about Suddenly a Corpse), from a book in his Scott Jordan series. Scott’s a lawyer, see, when that meant more than a bad film adaptation and a southern accent. What it means is he drinks hard, rumbles with jerky DAs, snuggles up with any number of hourglass figures, and then solves mysteries and murders. The kind of lawyer a boy or girl can admire, and aspire to being (or hiring). You know, as it is Mon-Tuesday, here are two quotes from Tall, Dark and Deadly: one martini one, and one bar one. Enjoy them, and then go litigate yourself something cold and strong (whatever that means).

“Thirsty Scott?”

“Parched. I’d like a martini, very dry.”

She went to a portable bar. “One martini, coming up.”

“May I help?”

“I know the formula,” she declared loftily. “Gin, vermouth, and cyanide.” She prepared the ingredients in a chrome shaker, applying the vermouth with an atomizer, and substituting a twist of lemon peel for the cyanide. I drank. It was very dry indeed and the gin left me a trifle lightheaded.

“Another?” she asked?

“Not unless you can handle me.”

“Does that mean I have to get you drunk?”

“Helps. I’ve very shy.”

I entered and perched on a bar stool. The place was humming with activity. Regardless of the hour or the temperature, it seems that a large number of citizens continuously suffer from parched throats. In order to accommodate this drought the city has spawned a thousand watering holes that serve no water. This one was indistinguishable from its cousins.

            I ordered Canadian ale and got a glass of Milwaukee stout.


Tall, Dark and Deadly, Hal Masur

May 14, 2009

Cocktail Talk: Suddenly a Corpse

There hasn’t been any Cocktail Talk on here in forever, thanks to me going to Italy and making videos and being generally an anti-literary bum on a tramp steamer. So to speak. But here are a couple quotes for your Friday from a fine bit of pulping (lawyer pulping even, as the main character’s a legal man), a little pocket book called Suddenly a Corpse, by Harold Q. Masur (which you’d think would have to be a pseudonym, right? But no, it’s just one of the greatest names ever). Tough stuff, but then again, so are you:

She had another pull of rye that would have knocked me kicking. She might have been drinking water for all the effect it had. Her stomach, I thought, must have been installed by the Bethlehem Steel Company.

For a moment there I was busier than a drunk on a tightrope.


Harold Q. Masur, Suddenly a Corpse

Rathbun on Film