Crime fiction and coffee goes hand in hand it would seem; all my favourite fictional detectives love it. I guess this is because it is associated with a certain sharpening of the faculties. Certainly coffee is your ally when hosting a murder-mystery party: I recommend serving it between wine and people being asked to make their accusations, you may even want to administer it again later, as a walking aid to get folk to their taxis.
Anyway, as a coffee dependent myself — I thought about saying ‘fan’ but, now, that wouldn’t be quite true — I’ve been waiting for an excuse to post my favourite coffee-related quotes, but somehow, in the throws of setting up my own murder-mystery game company, I missed the boat on International Coffee Day, and I simply refuse to wait until next September to post them. So here they are, I do hope you enjoy them.
“Police work wouldn’t be possible without coffee,” Wallander said.
“No work would be possible without coffee.”
They pondered the importance of coffee in silence.”
Henning Mankell, One Step Behind
‘I went out to the kitchen to make coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. The life blood of tired men.’
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
‘Well, I too suffer. The cooking of Madame Summerhayes; it is beyond description. Well, it is not cooking at all. The currents of the cold air. The long hairs of the dogs. The chairs. The terrible, terrible beds in which I try to sleep! And the coffee: words cannot describe to you the fluid they serve to you as coffee.’
Agatha Christie, Mrs McGinty’s Dead
The final quote, Hercule Poirot’s lament, I include not for its eloquence but for it’s aptness. I still marvel at the inability of the British to make decent coffee, one shot of expresso plus a gallon of milk and an inch and a half of foam does not a good cappuccino make!
Raymond Charles Chandler was born on this day in 1888. He wrote Noir crime full of deadly blondes, mean crooks, hot guns and velvet LA nights, and they are Brilliant. If you haven’t read a Raymond Chandler novel before, go out and find one, preferably Farewell my Lovely. No really, I insist, I’ll even lend you mine.
Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite:
‘It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.’
Farewell my Lovely
‘I needed a drink. I needed a lot of life insurance. I needed a vacation. I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat. a hat, and a gun.’
Farewell my Lovely
‘She kind of held the purse so I could see how empty it was. Then she straightened the bills out on the desk and put one on top of the other and pushed them across. Very slowly, very sadly, as if she were drowning a favorite kitten.’
The Little Sister
‘You can have a hangover from things other than alcohol. I had one from women. Women made me sick.’
The Big Sleep
‘The minutes went by on tipetoe, with their fingers to their lips.’
The Lady in the Lake
Ok, just one more:
‘There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.’
Trouble is my Business
For more on Raymond Chandler’s detective Philip Marlowe, click here.