October 4, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Kill and Tell, Part III

kill_and_tell_rigsbySorry, after last week’s Kill and Tell Cocktail Talk (read that one for a little more information on the book by Howard Rigsby), I realized I had to have at least one more, while I could still type – before the Martini kicks in. It’s not actually as drinky a book as some from the era, and the PI star isn’t as hard-drinking as others (he turns down a number of drinks), but hey, it’s not like he isn’t gonna drink at all!

“What would you like to drink?” I asked. “I can make a fair Martini.”

She had begun to look worried again, but she seemed to shrug it off. She smiled. “A Martini sounds grand.”

I made it five to one, and when she had tasted it she rolled her eyes upward. “While I can still talk there’s something I’d like to tell you,” she said.

I came back with a bourbon and soda and sat down.

 

–Howard Rigsby, Kill and Tell

September 13, 2022

Cocktail Talk: What Rhymes with Murder?, Part III

what_rhymes_with_murderFor our final What Rhymes with Murder? Cocktail Talk (and don’t miss What Rhymes with Murder? Part I and Part II to get some more boozing, sure, but also to learn more about this Jack Iams’ 1950 mystery, where a British flirty poet gets shot, a reporter hero tries to track down the murder as he’s a suspect, and where the society page grand dame reporter might be the best shamus of the bunch!) I have what I’m thinking is one of the finest moments in the however many years I’ve been writing here: the mention of grappa in a 1950s pulp pocketbook! Really! Amazing! I love grappa, being like one of the big grappa pushers I know, and someone who brings back bottles of obscure-in-the-US grappas in my suitcase when traveling to Italy every year. So, when I saw the below, I was very, very happy. You will be, too.

I went around the corner to Frascini’s, a restaurant where a lot of newspapermen and politicians and cops hung out. It was crowded, and I had a feeling that people were staring at me, and after a bowl of minestrone, I didn’t want anything more.

“Whatsa matter, you sick?” asked Tony Frascini.

“No, just shaky.”

“Have a grappa. Fix you up.”

 

–Jack Iams, What Rhymes with Murder?

July 26, 2022

Cocktail Talk: The Unholy Trio, Part III

unholy-trio-henry-kaneOur final stop (don’t miss The Unholy Trio Cocktail Talks Part I and Part II, by the way) in my latest Henry Kane yarn featuring two-fisted sharp-dressing quick-shooting kiss-a-lot-of-girls PI Peter Chambers. This quote almost didn’t make it to the site, as I wasn’t sure it was Cocktail Talk-y enough, but really, any time someone in a book is drinking a Rob Roy, it needs Cocktail Talking. And a Dry Rob Roy (not sure I’ve heard that much)? Forget about it! Read the other two in the series to get more book details, but not before you drink up the below.

“What are you drinking? Lunch is on me.”

“Why?”

“I’m going to get paid.”

“That you are.” I had brought a blank check. “Dry Rob Roy,” I said to the waiter. The menus were already on the table.

“Congratulations,” Arnie said.

“For what?”

“I believe you got married.”

“Oh. Thanks.” Miranda wouldn’t have told him. She was as cozy with information as Cosa Nostra. “How do you know?” I said.

“How do I know? Heck, there was a spread in every newspaper.”

“Yes, there was, wasn’t there?” My drink arrived and I drank it, quickly.

–Henry Kane, The Unholy Trio

June 7, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Can You Forgive Her?, Part III

can-you-forgive-herAs I was re-reading Can You Forgive Her?, the first in what’s commonly (though there is nothing common about them!) known as the Palliser novels, by long-time Spiked Punch pal Anthony Trollope, I realized that I couldn’t just have one more Cocktail Talk, oh no, I had to have at least two more. This being the second, and you being the reader that (if you haven’t read them) needs to go back and read the Can You Forgive Her? Cocktail Talk Part I (way back for that one) and then Part II (less farther back). That way you’ll be all caught and perfectly ready for the brilliantly named Burgo below, and for a little cherry brandy.

 

“Burgo, you had better eat your breakfast,” said Sir Cosmo.

“I don’t want any breakfast.” He took, however, a bit of toast, and crumbling it up in his hand as he put a morsel into his mouth, went away to the sideboard and filled for himself a glass of cherry brandy.

“If you don’t eat any breakfast the less of that you take the better,” said Sir Cosmo.

“I’m all right now,” said he.

 

— Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?

 

May 16, 2022

Cocktail Talk: Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard, Part III

mr-pinketon-scotland-yardOur third and last Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard Cocktail Talk (don’t miss, I tell you, don’t miss Part I and Part II, to learn more about the book and all such) shows the dangers of having Champagne cocktails after going to the movies! Very dangerous. And is also fun in a sort-of overly-dramatic way that reminds me of old motions pictures somewhat! With it, we say goodbye to little Mr. Pinkerton, for now, at least!

She laughed as if it weren’t really funny, but there it was.

“Monty and I had a Champagne cocktail or two at a club after the picture and decided we’d do that to Hugh, and then he’d see he was losing me and he’d say “I can’t let you go, you are mine,” and then it wouldn’t matter so much about his mother. Well, we did. We announced to Auntie and the Ripleys that we’d come to an understanding, and . . .  and  . . .

Linda Darrell bit her lip and smiled brightly.

 

–David Frome, Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard

March 29, 2022

Cocktail Talk: The Crazy Kill, Part III

crazy-killIt’s been eight years since my last Cocktail Talk post (The Crazy Kill Part II) from Chester Himes’ book The Crazy Kill, and twelve since my first (The Crazy Kill Part I, as you might imagine) – by all the bottles in the bar, time passes too quickly! You should for sure go back and read both those posts and the quotes from the book highlighted within, but let me also underline a few things: first, Chester Himes (who wrote all sorts of amazing works – see all Chester Himes Cocktail Talks, too) is awesome, and if you haven’t read anything by him, it’s a must do. Second, this book is one of his series featuring his Harlem-based police detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, two of the most memorable characters in detective fiction, inhabiting a perfectly rendered (as far I can tell, and I certainly feel transported when reading the books featuring them) 1950s-60s specific time-and-place. Third (and if the above haven’t sold you, this will), the book really kicks off by an opium-addicted preacher falling out of a window and landing in a bread-basket – which saves his life, but which also leads to realizing there is a dead body in the bread-basket! I just had to have another quote from the book:

 

“Jesus Christ!” he exclaimed. “Peach brandy and laudanum. You drink this stuff?”

 

“It’s for my nerves,” Reverend Short said.

 

–Chester Himes, The Crazy Kill

 

December 21, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Some Slips Don’t Show, Part III

some-slips-don't-showAs we wind our way into the final Some Slips Don’t Show Cocktail Talk (by the way: love the book cover here!), we find ourselves back at a situation touched on briefly in the book’s Cocktail Talk Part I (don’t miss Part II, either), where the real star of the series, detective Donald Lam (don’t tell his partner Bertha Cool I said he was the star, though), is getting cuddlier with one of the murder suspects in this here tale. And, as happens in the books (written by Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A.A. Fair), this cuddling, or prelude to cuddling, happens over drinks. Doubles, even.

A waiter came over and she ordered a double Manhattan.

“Single for me,” I said.

“Bring him a double, she said, smiling at the waiter. “I don’t want to get ahead of him.”

The waiter nodded and withdrew.

We nibbled pretzels and did a little verbal sparring until the waiter came back with the Manhattans. They were both doubles.

 

–A.A. Fair, Some Slips Don’t Show

January 19, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Little Dorrit, Part III

little-dorritHello Dickens fans (which I hope is everyone)! And let me just jump right in to our third quote from the immortal Dickens book Little Dorrit. Well, first, let me point you to the Little Dorrit Part I Cocktail Talk, and the Little Dorrit Part II Cocktail Talk, and for that matter, all the Charles Dickens Cocktail Talks, in case you want or get a little more book story, or read more quotes, or both! Here, we have a bit about sherry (our second sherry from the book, but it was rather popular at the time) and a bit about a character in the book that seems serene and such, but is actually a bit of a villain. There are layers of villainy in Dickens as in life, and that’s all I’m gonna say cause really, you should read the book! After the below quote of course.

 

The Patriarchal state, always a state of calmness and composure, was so particularly serene that evening as to be provoking. Everybody else within the bills of mortality was hot; but the Patriarch was perfectly cool. Everybody was thirsty, and the Patriarch was drinking. There was a fragrance of limes or lemons about him; and he made a drink of golden sherry, which shone in a large tumbler as if he were drinking the evening sunshine. This was bad, but not the worst. The worst was, that with his big blue eyes, and his polished head, and his long white hair, and his bottle-green legs stretched out before him, terminating in his easy shoes easily crossed at the instep, he had a radiant appearance of having in his extensive benevolence made the drink for the human species, while he himself wanted nothing but his own milk of human kindness.

 

–Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit

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