Monday, August 28, 2017

The 12.30 From Croydon with a 'Blue Train'

Freeman Wills Crofts seems to have been at the forefront of an increasing interest in phsycology as part of the make up of a crime, and as in 'Antidote to Venom' we know who the murderer is in this novel. What we don't know is how the police will get their man, who has an apparently sound alibi.

Every time I've tried to write on from there I've found myself giving far to many spoilers, so I'll just say this is a gripping story of (I'm quoting from the back blurb, but it's not wrong) intrigue, betrayal, obsession, justification, and self delusion.

Although our murder victim is flying to Paris, the Blue Train that took the wealthy from Calais to the French Riviera (and is the setting for an Agatha Christie, amongst over literary appearances) seems quite in keeping with the spirit of the thing, not least because Freeman Wills Crofts was a railway engineer before he was a novelist.

One thing I've learnt from doing this series of posts is that a lot of Cocktails have duel identities, or are minute variations upon a theme. In the case of this particular 'Blue Train' (both recipes from The Savoy Cocktail Book) we have a 'White Lady' in disguise. The base for each is 1/4 lemon juice, 1/4 Cointreau, 1/2 dry gin shaken well with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. To make it a Blue Train you add a dash of blue food colouring.

The basic mix of lemon, Gin, and Cointreau occurs a few times, it's a good one - I've seen White Lady recipes that call for egg white as well, though I now recognise that as being a Fizz, and have always omitted them anyway. It's also a very potent cocktail which you truly realise about 5 minutes to late. I've made it using lavender infused gin (Lavander ladies...) which is delicious, and Rhubarb Gin (not bad, but not as good as I'd hoped, the Rhubarb flavour gets a little lost) and with Marmalade vodka when I had no Cointreau (like rocket fuel, but we had a good time anyway). I had never thought to add food colouring, which sounds a bit like a con on the bar tenders part in this case, but a charming one.

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