Page 131. " 'It's in my hand: the Girdle of Venus.' "

Girdle of Venus
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGirdle of Venus - Credit: Darkumber

A line that appears at the top of the palm, stretching between the middle and fourth fingers. According to palmists,  the presence of the Girdle of Venus indicates extreme sensitivity.

Page 132. " spread eagled like Prometheus "

The Titian God, Prometheus, incurred the wrath of Zeus by trying to improve the lives of mankind. As punishment, he was staked to a rock and forced to endure an eagle feeding on his liver.

Page 136. " I never howled the devil out. "

Creative Commons AttributionChristening - Credit: robholland
The superstitious belief that a baby who cries when christened is casting the devil out has been held for centuries, and is thought to be a sign of good fortune.

Page 144. " 'I don't mind if I do. A Sidecar.' "

Creative Commons AttributionSidecar - Credit: Evan Swigart
A Sidecar is a classic short cocktail, created in 1922.

2 measures of brandy

1 measure of Cointreau

Juice of half a lemon

Shake well and serve in a sugar frosted Martini glass.

Page 147. " The moonlight touched a Woolworth ring "

Woolworths was a high street chain of retailers that developed a reputation for cheap products of reasonable quality - during the 1930s their motto was 'nothing over sixpence'. The company entered administration in 2008.

Woolworths began selling gold rings for sixpence during the 1920s, these proved an affordable option for both married couples and single women, who would wear them to ward off unwanted attention, or avoid rousing suspicion.