April 11, 2017

Cocktail Talk: Keystone

Image result for keystone peter loveseyThose long-time readers of this Spiked Punch blog (which is all of you, correct?) know that I love me some Peter Lovesey. Especially his Peter Diamond series, which is body-packed (lots of murders) with awesomeness. But I like tracking down his other books, too, and recently found one of the few I don’t already have, a super-fun read called Keystone. It takes place during the early glory days of Hollywood, especially around the studio that made the Keystone cops. There’s a murder or two and some mysteries and a well-researched setting, and the regular tight pacing and prose that Lovesey always delivers. If you can find it, get it. And then drink a whiskey sour while reading it:

We had to go as far as Wilshire Boulevard to find a place that served hot meals in mid-afternoon. By then I was ready to tackle the steak that Murray ordered. I ate, while he drank whiskey sours and talked about Louise, their daughters, his early life and his career in motion pictures, from the San Francisco nickelodeon to the absurdities of Keystone.

— Peter Lovesey, Keystone

October 7, 2014

Cocktail Talk: The Proof of the Pudding

I’ve had a couple Cocktail Talk posts with quotes from Peter Lovesey books, though neither books feature his Bath, UK detective Peter Diamond – who is one of my favorite fictional police detectives, both for his rotundness and his crime-solving acuity. Sadly, he’s not much of a drinker, outside of the beer. But Mr. Lovesey also writes shorter fiction, and I recently picked up his collection Do Not Exceed the Stated Dose, which feature a whole host of good whodunits and other such tales, including the one this quote is from (said quote being ideal for here due to the whiskey. But I also like the “meat raffle.”)

He lowered his face until it was inches from hers. Not even nine in the morning and she could smell sweet whiskey on his breath. “I won it, didn’t I?” he said, daring her to disbelieve. “A meat raffle in The Valiant Trooper last night.”

–Peter Lovesey, The Proof of the Pudding

February 13, 2012

Cocktail Talk: Mad Hatter’s Holiday

I’ve talked a bit about English detective-y writer Peter Lovesey in a past Cocktail Talk post, so I’ll gloss over the backstory mostly here (if you need more, head back in time), and just remind you, dear reader, that Mr. Lovesey is best known for two characters, heavyweight-but-huggable modern police detective Peter Diamond and under-appreciated Victorian police detective Sergant Cribb. The book I’m quoting today, Mad Hatter’s Holiday, features the latter and both has a good crime story and impeccable period details. A worthy read. And the below is a worthy quote, especially because I understand how sometimes a night “of gin and song” isn’t planned and then does, indubitably, take its toll.

Saturday night at the Canterbury was about to take its toll. He had not planned his night of gin and song. A visit to the Canterbury was not indelibly inspired in his social diary, like evenings at the dome and the Theatre Royal.

Peter Lovesey, Mad Hatter’s Holiday

October 18, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Rough Cider

 Peter Lovesey is an English mystery writer, perhaps most famous for his barrel-shaped and brusque Bath detective Peter Diamond and for his Sergeant Cribb books that take place in the Victorian era. I dig both. Lovesey isn’t all flashy, and isn’t perhaps as well-known as he should be over on this side of the pond, but his plots are always incredibly well thought out, his characters are real and motivated, and once you dive into one book featuring one of his two main characters, you tend (or I did, at least) to want to read more. They don’t hit the cocktails as much as other crime solvers of the police-and-non kind, so I haven’t mentioned him much here on the Spiked Punch blog. And, funny enough when considering the above, the quote below comes from the book Rough Cider, which doesn’t contain either of the fictional gentlemen mentioned above. But Rough Cider does has a fine mystery/story, and lots of cider talk (a murder happens at a cider farmer’s, if that makes sense), and I like cider, and so now it all makes sense, right? I did learn a few things from the book, too. First (and this is gross), cider makers at one time would put legs of mutton in the cider to give it a bit of body. Hmm. Second, cider that was bad would be termed “ropy” as in the below quote. Third, never put a human skull in your cider, or it will turn it ropy (unlike if you put mutton in I guess). Did these learnings turn me off cider? Nah. But they have given me a few more things to talk about when drinking it. This quote also features one of my favorite words (hogshead) and talks about drinking from jam jars, which I’m a fan of, even outside of wartime.

One evening in October, 1944, almost a year after the tragic events I’ve been describing, a man in a public house in Frome, the Shorn Ram, ordered a pint of local cider, a drink strongly preferred in wartime to the watered-down stuff that masqueraded as beer. People didn’t object to drinking from jam jars in those days of crockery shortages, but they were still choosy about what went into the jam jars. So when a customer complained that the cider was “ropy,” it was a serious matter. The publican had just put a new barrel on, a large one, a hogshead, from Lockwood, a reliable cider maker. He drew off a little for himself and sampled it.  


Rough Cider, Peter Lovesey

Rathbun on Film