Debra Goldstein joins us today on Drinks with Reads to celebrate her novel, Should Have Played Poker. A former judge, Debra is active in Sisters in Crime and writes mystery novels. You can find her on her website.
Because of the significant age difference between twenty-nine-year-old Carrie Martin and her co-sleuths, the Sunshine Village Retirement Home Mah Jongg players it is impossible to select only one drink to compliment reading Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery. Consequently, several alcoholic beverages should be kept on hand to enhance one’s reading enjoyment.
In Should Have Played Poker, attorney Carrie Martin’s balancing of her job and visiting her father at the Sunshine Village retirement home is upset when her mother reappears, twenty-six years after abandoning her family. Carrie's mother leaves her with a sealed envelope and the confession she once considered killing Carrie’s father. Before Carrie can find answers about her past, her mother is murdered.
Instructed to leave the sleuthing to the police, Carrie’s continued efforts quickly put her at odds with her former lover—the detective assigned to her mother’s case. When Carrie and the Maj players attempt to unravel Wahoo, Alabama’s past secrets, their efforts put Carrie in danger and show her that truth and integrity aren’t always what she was taught to believe.
From when Carrie’s mother tells her: “The first time I thought of killing him, the two of us were having chicken sandwiches at that fast-food place with the oversized rubber bird anchored to its roof,” Carrie and the reader should pour a glass of wine. Wine and beer are found throughout the book. Carrie drinks red when relaxing in the bathtub; anxiously watches the two men who have an interest in her wash their hamburgers down with beer; and, partakes of sweet kosher wine when sharing Shabbat dinner with the Mah jongg players.
The players themselves are an odd combination– a Holocaust survivor, a ringleader whose hair matches the pink shade of her nail polish and lipstick, a woman whose filters disappeared years ago, and one who should have been an economist or at least a Jeopardy contestant. These women have been friends from when they were newlyweds through widowhood and retirement. They have weathered the events in their lives by playing Mah jongg, a tile game, weekly. Cake, rather than alcohol, has been the consistent thread throughout their gameplaying years, but if they were to partake of potations regularly, one would insist on drinking coffee, two would go for Long Island Tea and the fourth would try drinks of fancy including, because she likes the dragon tiles, different versions of dragon drinks. Three of her favorite recipes would be:
Simple Green Dragon – mix 4 oz champagne with 1 oz of Midori melon liqueur – pour in a champagne flute and garnish with a green maraschino cherry, or a
Midori Sour Green Dragon – 1 ½ oz Midori melon liqueur, 1 oz premium vodka (optional), 2 oz. sour mix, 1 ½ oz. lime juice, 1 dash Sprite or 1 dash other carbonated lemon-lime beverage, 1 maraschino cherry, garnish – Combine first 4 ingredients and pour over ice. Splash soda and garnish with a cherry. You can also shake the ingredients on ice and strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a cherry.
Dragonfire Cocktail (from Spice & Ice by Kara Newman) - 2 oz Jalapeno-infused tequila or vodka, 1 oz Triple Sec, 1 oz. orange juice, 1 oz lime juice, 1 lime wedge for garnish – In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, triple sec, orange juice, and lime juice, plus ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Garnish with lime wedge (or jalapeno round) [To make jalapeno-infused tequila: add 1 jalapeno to 2 cups tequila. Allow to infuse for at least 2 hours. Remove jalapeno).
These drinks are perfect, but not the one I prefer to compliment my book. Should Have Played Poker is meant to be a fun read. Whether at the beach, on an airplane, or sitting on your bedside table, the book was written for the reader’s enjoyment. That’s why I believe the best way to celebrate Should Have Played Poker and its readers is with a slab of cake and a raised flute of bubbly Prosecco poured over a fresh raspberry.