Friday, April 5, 2019

The Fourth Courier Rides A Moscow Mule

Timothy Jay Smith is making Moscow Mules to celebrate his new book, The Fourth Courier. The Fourth Courier is Tim's third published novel. He’s traveled the world collecting stories and characters for his books and screenplays which have received high praise. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction for A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, Stolen Memories. His screenplays have won numerous international competitions. Tim is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. He lives in France.

A series of grisly murders in Poland suddenly becomes an international case when radiation is detected on the third victim’s hands, raising fears that all the victims may have smuggled nuclear material out of the recently-defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends Special Agent Jay Porter to assist in the investigation. He teams up with a CIA agent, and when they learn that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb is missing, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

The novel is set at the time of the seismic collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. This year marks the 30thanniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and Solidarity coming to power in Poland. The Fourth Courier captures that era. Jay becomes intimately involved with a Polish family, giving the reader a chance to see how people coped with their collective hangover from the communist era. Here’s how he sees one moment:

“A church’s onion dome loomed over the bent women and broken men who plied those streets. Here, a man sold oranges displayed on his car hood; there, a woman used a stick to rummage in a refuse bin; and everywhere, the poor scuffed their shoes in the gritty snow bargaining for toss-offs.”

And now for the Moscow Mule

What better drink to conjure up both Russia and Poland than one with vodka, the national brew in both countries? Even better, my story is about nuclear smuggling from Moscow, and mule is slang for a smuggler!

So Moscow Mule it had to be, and it’s so easy to make, you don’t need a recipe. Fill a copper mug with ice, squeeze a quarter of a lime over it, add as much vodka as you want, and fill it to the top with ginger beer. To spruce it up, stick in a sprig of mint.

For those who insist on a recipe, combine the following in a copper mug:

2 ounces vodka
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lime juice
4 ounces ginger beer (preferably a little spicy)
A sprig of mint (optional)

If you’re short a copper mug, a highball glass will do. Why a copper mug? Tradition.

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