June 11, 2012

Cocktail Talk: Murder in Brass

First and foremost, before the murder-and-drink-talk starts, let me apologize for the lack of posts last week and for probably the next couple. Things, as they say, have come up. Fun things, and things I may tell you about later (well, except the part about me running in a grass skirt through grass fields. Cause you probably don’t want that image). Anyway, excuse time=over. Now, on to Murder in Brass, by Lewis Padgett. Who I don’t know a lot about, except that he was two guys. I do know that the protagonist of this book, retired-ish detective Seth Coleman is (as the back of the book tells us): Rough! Tought! Terrific! The book has something to do with a guy who may or may not be running around knocking folks off. The “Brass” part has to do with his pops, who is dead and who was obsessed by brass. It was upstate New York and gold hadn’t been invented yet. Perhaps the best part of the book is when Mr Coleman (Rough! Tough! Terriffic!) goes into a diner with his alcoholically-minded sidekick to get a drink and finds out this spot doesn’t serve booze:

‘Take it easy,’ Bedarian said, seizing a menu. ‘Jesus. The place is dry.’

A bitter voice voice said, ‘Listen, bud, you know what a liquor license costs?’

The thin, sour man in the white apron stood over us, a pad and pencil ready. Wilma Bird said, ‘Mike doesn’t have to serve liquor. He’s got the best food in town.’

Mike made an unpleasant noise in his throat. ‘So what? I don’t have Martinis and Manhattans and Zombies and Pink Women–’

‘Pink Ladies,’ Bedarian corrected, touched in a sore spot.

‘Pink tootsie-rolls for all I know,’ Mike said somberly. ‘Fine name for a drink. A man ought to drink rye. Then he knows where he’s at. Women shouldn’t ought to drink at all. What’s yours?’

Murder in Brass, Lewis Padgett

February 1, 2011

Cocktail Talk, The Gutter and the Grave, Part 2

It’s hard to believe that there could be two more beautifully booze-y quotes from this Ed McBain book, quotes as good as those below, but I’m going to say, drink in hand raised to the sky, that these may be as good. At least, they manage to mention a whole array of classic mixes—and both mention the Zombie. Is there another book (outside of drink books, duh) that mentions the rum’d out Zombie twice? I have my doubts (but would be happy to be pointed in the direction of another one). Does this mean you should be sure to have rums on hand when you read the Gutter and the Grave? Well, of course.


It was Park Avenue mixed with the slums, it was cocktail parties and pool parlors, theater openings and all-night movies on Forty-Second Street. It was her world and mine, mixed like a Zombie, four thousand kinds of rum, but blended because underneath the exotic name it was all rum.


The man handling our table wondered back. ‘Sir, the bartender says he is not equipped to make hot rum toddies, sir. He suggests, if you care for rum, a Planter’s Punch, or a Cuba Libre, or a Zombie.’

‘I’ll have a rye and soda,’ I said. ‘Toni?’

‘A whiskey sour,’ she said.


The Gutter and the Grave, Ed McBain

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