Friday, December 30, 2011

Champagne in Crime Fiction

If you follow this blog--or if you know me--you know that I'm a list maker. So I was putting together a list of different chocolatiers who make champagne truffles for a New Year's Eve post on, and I thought there must be several mysteries in which Champagne has a prominent role. I've come up with four titles. Surely there must be more. I know that Champagne figures in Dashiell Hammett's Thin Man books. I remember Nick and Nora drinking lots of champagne in the movies. So here's a short list of 'Champagne' books to toast on New Year's Eve. Please comment with any missed titles.

Champagne for One by Nero Wolfe
Champagne Fuhrern by Kare Hallden (in Swedish)
Champagne for Buzzards by Phyllis Smallman
Dry Bones by Peter May
Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
Champagne Blues by Ivan and Nat Lyons
Tug of War by Barbara Cleverly

And here's a mystery related story about Champagne, especially for history mystery folks. This was reported in The Daily Mail (UK) July 2010. Talk about a vintage that holds its own!

Divers have discovered what is thought to be the world's oldest drinkable champagne in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea.
  They have already tested out the contents of one bottle and claim it tastes 'fantastic' despite dating back to the late 18th century.
   Diving instructor Christian Ekstrom said the bottles are believed to be from the 1780s and likely were part of a cargo destined for Russia.
   'We brought up the bottle to be able to establish how old the wreck was. We didn't know it would be champagne. We thought it was wine or something,' he said.
   Ekstrom said the divers were overjoyed when they popped the cork on their boat after hauling the bubbly from a depth of 200 feet (60 meters).
   'It tasted fantastic. It was a very sweet champagne, with a tobacco taste and oak,' Ekstrom said.
   The divers discovered the shipwreck near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland. About 30 bottles are believed to be aboard the sunken vessel.
Read More Here.

And, then, of course, there's always Sabering Champagne, as opposed to savoring Champagne. Sabering is opening the champagne bottle with a saber. A talent a mystery reader might have!


Leann Sweeney said...

Doesn't Dame Agatha's Sparkling Cyanide feature champagne?

Leann Sweeney

michael said...

You can add the murder mystery "Champagne Blues" by Ivan and Nat Lyons.

michael said...

You can add the murder mystery "Champagne Blues" by Ivan and Nat Lyons.

Anonymous said...

Barbara Cleverly wrote Tug of War, set in France after WW1, set in and about a champagne estate. I think it is the 6th in the Joe Sandilands series

Good stuff.

Bernie who is about to open the first bottle of the bubbly stuff for NYE.

Janet Rudolph said...

Thanks, all, for the additional titles. I really appreciate it! Happy New Year

Bobbi Mumm said...

Terrific list, Janet. A toast to you with a bottle of G.H. Mumm (France). Happy New Year!

Le French Book said...

Thanks for this list. It got me looking into French books set in the Champagne region and I found some I'm going to look into for future possible translation at Le French Book. One French author has a PI there. Can't wait to read them. Thanks for the idea.

Janet Rudolph said...

Le French book: Mystery Readers Journal's first issue in 2012 (Spring, Volume 28:1) will focus on Mysteries set in France.

Le French Book said...

Janet Rudolph: Thanks for the heads up. I look forward to reading it.