Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Murder at the Manor with a 'Silver Bullet'

The 'Silver Bullet' was the cocktail I bought the 'Kümmel' for - or at least it was the one I'd heard of that uses it. Apparently a favourite of Prince Philip's (which is the sort of trivia I like) it's 2 parts Gin, 1 part Kümmel, 1 part lemon juice, all shaken over ice and strained into a coctail glass. (From the Savoy cocktail book). The citrus sharpness of the lemon juice along with the sweetness of the kümmel effectively disguise how potent this drink is, whilst the caraway/anise flavours from the kümmel make it taste distinctively individual. The gin provides backbone and structure.

I like caraway enough to really like this, and I love the name - it's almost as appropriate as The Bloodhound was (and will be the obvious drink to pair with the British Library's upcoming 'Silver Bullets' collection of werewolf stories - which I am keenly anticipating). It also feels like the genuine article as far as country house coctails go - that Prince Philip connection surely gives it impeccably aristocratic credentials, and as I mentioned before it does tend to be the tweedy sorts who ask for kümmel. It just seems right.

'Murder at the Manor' may well be my favourite Crime Classics anthology (edited by Martin Edwards), simply because I love a country house set mystery. It's the combination of the closed community within the house, the complex relationships between upstairs and downstairs, the possibility of secret passages and the like allowing scope for things to get both distinctly ghostly and gothic at times, and all the wonderful cliches that go with it. I find it all very satisfying.

I cannot adequately express how excited I am by this book, or how confident I am that it will meet my expectations. Last years 'Lost in a Pyramid' and 'The Haunted Library' were so very good that I can hardly wait to see how the werewolf stories in this collection develop.

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