I loved The Scarlet Pimpernel as a teenager (and still do), and think I read most of the series in battered old Library copies that have almost certainly been destroyed by now. What I only started to realise in the last few years was how many other books Orczy had written, including reasonably early detective fiction. Since then I've obviously wanted to read them, but they've not been the easiest books to come by (more or less out of print, and with a mixed reputation which makes a serious investment of time or money a bit risky).
Pushkin Vertigo is one of my favourite imprints, and so far everything I've read or bought (I've bought a lot more than I've read) in it has been international noir so I was almost as surprised as I was delighted to see that they've reprinted 'The Old Man In The Corner', and that early next year we're getting 'The Case of Miss Elliot' as well in 'The Teahouse Detective' series.
I've started 'The Old Man in the Corner' and it's promising to be everything I could want it to be (an elderly gentleman is mansplaining crimes to a competent female journalist, I think she's going to get the last word though). I've also spent quite a bit of time trying to think what Polly Burton of the Evening Observer would drink.
I know she drinks coffee because that's what she's having with her lunch on page 1, and coffee or a good cup of tea (an Assam heavy blend seems most appropriate for the teahouse setting) are obviously a good match for any book, as well as being the lunch time choice of a female journalist of the Belle Époque - but what else would a respectable, independent, young woman of the age drink?
One answer might be Champagne, but Polly is earning a living so Cremant de Bourgogne (or Sparkling Burgundy) would be the economical alternative. When I started out in the winectrade New World Fizz was the thing everybody wanted, then Cava had its moment, and currently it's Prosecco. I've never quite understood why prosecco is quite as popular as it is - beyond its relative cheapness. It's okay, but it's often quite bland and a bit sugary, and there are much better things out there.
One of the better things out there is Cremant de Bourgogne, which is finally getting a bit more attention. The great thing about this wine is that it's made using the Champagne method (bottle fermentation means better ageing potential, more complexity, better quality fizz) from more or less the same grapes as Champagne (though some gamay and aligoté might also be used - there are only 3 permitted grape varieties in Champagne; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier - but that's another post in itself). The short version is that you're getting Champagne quality and flavour for a fraction of the price.
There are plenty of good quality Cremant de Bourgognes around for between £10-£15 at the moment and for that you'll be getting something that will rival any NV Champagne, if you're looking at cheaper Champagne generally I'd recommend the Cremant over it every time. It'll almost certainly be better, and much better value.
I'd also put in a good word for those new world fizzes - quite a few are made by Champagne houses anyway, and they too are excellent quality at very reasonable prices. I don't know why they fell out of favour but they knock the socks of most prosecco's I've tried.