Sometimes, it doesn’t take long to know you’re gonna like a new book. I’m talking about a completely new book here, by an author you don’t know, and not say the 32nd book in a series by your all-time favorite writer (which I’m guessing is Garth Marenghi). Sometimes, it takes a few pages, but sometimes, rarely, sure, but sometimes by the end of the second sentence you know the book’s gonna snag you. Or at least has serious potential. I recently had this very phenomenon happen, with a book called The Man with a Load of Mischief, by Martha Grimes, who I’d never read word one from before. As this blog isn’t one of serious literary merit (wait, are any?), you probably have guessed that there’s some boozy mention in said second sentence. And you’re right. But what you probably couldn’t guess is that the boozy mention is of an English beer, one that’s not prevalent in the U.S., but one whose distillery I’ve actually been to! Amazing. It was a few years back, and I was traveling the U.K. with wife Nat and pals Markie B and Leslie P and we were in the Yorkshire region tooling around before seeing the Mighty Boosh, and ended up in a village called Masham, where the famous Theakston Brewery resides, which we visited. And, to bring it all full circle, at Theakston they make a renowned beer call Old Peculiar, which we had (and which Markie B has since lobbied to get in Seattle—successfully I might add) and loved, and which is mentioned in the second sentence of the book, which I talked about like an hour ago at the top of this paragraph. But hey, you wouldn’t want me to leave the story unfinished, right? The payoff is the quote itself, which is right here:
Outside the Jack and Hammer, a dog growled. Inside, his view of the High Street obstructed by the window at his shoulder, Melrose Plant sat in the curve of the bay drinking Old Peculiar and reading Rimbaud.
—The Man with a Load of Mischief, Martha Grimes