Music, Drink, and Chinese Funeral Services

So much to say. So little time.

As Bob Marley & the Wailers noted on Exodus (1977), their most theological album, I have “So Much Things To Say.” Let’s limit the topics to a playlist, crime-fiction and mystery notes, and an entry in the “Drinks I Have Been Drinking” series.


Any effort to create a “soundtrack” appropriate to white-collar crime will be both controversial and disparate, but I have never been discouraged from trying. Here is the latest Spotify update of White Collar Wire’s playlist:

Recent additions include . . . .

. . . and

Crime Fiction

From The Rap Sheet , a review of the last Alan Banks novel from the late Peter Robinson. One thing I have always liked about Robinson is that, as the reviewer notes, he “often explores the present-day ramifications of historical events.” As the guy from Mississippi said, the past is not even past. 

From Crime Reads, an interesting note about crime fiction, morality plays, and sin:

While the seven deadly sins may not have speaking parts in our books, one or more of them is usually in control of our killers’ minds. When I’m planning a new book, one of my steps is to remind myself of the motives for murder I’ve already used in previous plots, and that comes very close to listing all seven sins. True, not many people commit murder for gluttony’s sake; in fact, the most famous glutton in our profession is probably Nero Wolfe, a detective rather than a criminal. But greed, envy, lust, and wrath are murderous emotions, and so is wounded pride. As for sloth, I’m sure I could concoct a plot where a determinedly idle character (a gamer, maybe?) kills a nagging wife or mother.

For example, Australian mystery writer Jane Harper’s most recent book, Exiles,and her previous one, The Survivors, both place envy in the center of their plots. This is not to say that Exiles gives readers a sense of déjà vu—far from it. Still, both stories revolve around small-town communities where siblings, cousins, friends, and neighbors who grew up together carry with them as adults the unresolved resentments of their years as teenagers. In another time and place, Bombay in the 1950s, Vaseem Khan’s police detective Persis Wadia investigates her first murder case and uncovers suspects who seem to be awash in greed; lust and thwarted pride also play prominent roles in her solution to the case.

Religious plays personified virtue and vice in other ways besides naming their cast after sins. Some had their hapless representative of humanity—named Humanum Genus in one play—going through life accompanied by an angel and a devil, pulled first one way and then the other. Spoiler Alert: In dramas created to convince an audience that salvation is worth sacrificing a little fun for, the angel always wins at the end. But that doesn’t keep the devil from being crucial to the plot. This dramatic juxtaposition of the right and wrong ways of behaving reminds me of certain pairs of protagonists in detective stories, like Bolitar and Win, Spencer and Hawke, or Pascoe and Dalziel. Think about how one of those men gets to snuggle up to his angel only because the other man ends up doing the dirty work required to solve the case and ultimately bring a murderer or two to justice.

Kim Hays: What Do Modern Mystery Novels and Medieval Mystery Plays Have In Common? Sin.

Drinks I Have Been Drinking

The Bar at the Modern is a favorite for both food and booze.

Monkey 47 martini (the Bar at the Modern) (NYC)

Wonderful late breakfast at Corner Bar (in Chinatown):

The “Breakfast Negroni” at Corner Bar (NYC) (Ford’s gin, earl gray, bergamot, bitter blanc)

Yes. I took the man literally and had one at breakfast:

I then walked out and watched arrangements provided by Boe Fook Funeral Services:

And, finally, one of the holy grails of American cocktails—Death&Co.:

The “Flying Dutchman” and “The Milliner” (Death & Co.) (NY)