Page 9. " For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies "

Brownstone, Upper East Side NYC
Creative Commons AttributionBrownstone, Upper East Side NYC - Credit: 1hr photo

Brownstone is a type of brown sandstone that was once a popular building material. In the US, the term is used to describe terraced housing built from this material. 

Brownstones are common in a number of New York City neighborhoods, particularly in Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Upper West Side. 

Page 10. " he ran a bar around the corner on Lexington Avenue "
View from 50th Street Lexington Ave, facing toward south toward the Chrysler Building
Creative Commons AttributionView from 50th Street Lexington Ave, facing toward south toward the Chrysler Building - Credit: Hidenori Inagaki

Lexington Avenue, abbreviated by New Yorkers to Lex, is located on the East Side of Manhattan.  It runs for just short of 9kms, through Harlem, Carnegie Hill, the Upper East Side, Midtown and Murry Hill, to Gramercy Park.   

It was not included in the original 1811 Manhattan grid plan, but was added in 1832 by developer Samuel Ruggles.

Page 10. " Weimaraner dogs "
Weimaraner
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeWeimaraner - Credit: Salhedine

Weimaraners were originally bred for hunting in the early 19th century. They were named for the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Karl August, whose court was based in the city of Weimar and who was an avid hunter.

Weimaraners remain popular as gun dogs.  They’re very comfortable in water, and have webbed toes.

Page 11. " Read it in Winchell "

Walter Winchell (1897-1972) was an American newspaper and radio gossip commentator.  He joined the New York Daily Mirror in 1929, where his syndicated gossip column, On-Broadway, exposed scandalous tittle-tattle about celebrities and politicians.  He wasn’t above blackmail, and would happily trade positive mention in his column for rumours and secrets about someone else.

His newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, and he was read by 50 million people a day from the 1920s until the early 1960s. His Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people from 1930 to the late 1950s.

Page 19. " How old is W. Somerset Maugham? "

William Somerset Maugham (25 January 1874 – 16 December 1965) was an English writer of plays, novels and short stories.  He also worked as a spy for Britain's Secret Intelligence Service.

He was said to be the highest paid author of the 1930s. 

Page 20. " smoked an esoteric cigarette called Picayunes "

Picayune cigarettes were a regional brand sold in the US.  Their tag line was 'The Pride of New Orleans'.  Although labelled ‘Extra Mild’, they were made from caporal tobacco, and were particularly strong.  Apparently they tasted much like the French brand Gauloises. 

 

 picayune

Page 20. " She knew all the show hits, Cole Porter and Kurt Weill; especially she liked the songs from Oklahoma! "

Cole Porter's "Night and Day" by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers:

 

 

Kurt Julian Weill (1900-1950) was a German composer. He rose to prominence in the early 1920s, with several one-act operas. Weill’s songs and musical theatre were extremely popular with the German public at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s.  His best-known work is The Threepenny Opera (1928), written in collaboration with Bertolt Brecht As a prominent and popular Jewish composer, Weill was denounced for his populist views by the Nazi government, and fled Germany in 1933.  He moved to Paris, then London, and later to the US.  In the 1940s he lived in New York and made frequent trips to Hollywood for his work for theatre and film.

 

Oklahoma! was the first musical written by duo Rodgers and Hammerstein.  It is based on a 1931 play by Lynn Riggs.  Set in 1906, it tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams. The original Broadway production opened in 1943, and was a huge success.  It ran for almost 2,500 performances, and was made into a movie in 1955.  

 

 

Page 21. " the newest Simenon "
Georges Simenon (1963)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGeorges Simenon (1963) - Credit: Erling Mandelmann

Georges Joseph Christian Simenon (1903-1989) was a Belgian writer. He lived in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, moved to the US in 1945, and back to Europe in 1955.   

He published nearly 200 novels and numerous short works.  He is best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret.