Page 202. " Care for a little cordial or a little B and B "

A B & B is a cocktail that mixes brandy and Benedictine in equal measures, usually on the rocks in a brandy snifter.

Benedictine is a herbal liqueur invented by Normandy monks in the 19th century.


Page 205. " to swab with ammonia at its clinging black scum. "

Ammonia is a chemical compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. It is a colourless gas, found in small quantities in the atmosphere. It has the chemical formula NH3.

Ammonia can be used as a household cleaner, in the form of ammonia solution in water (ammonium hydroxide), to clean glass, porcelain and stainless steel. 

Page 208. " a Henry-James sort of venetian countess "

 Henry James (1843-1916) was a noted American essayist, critic, and author of the realism movement, who became a British citizen and spent the last 40 years of his life in England.

Online Literature: Henry James

The Ladder: A Henry James Website



Page 208. " on a balustrade above the Grand Canal, sipping sweet vermouth "

The Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, is an important transport artery for water-buses, water-taxis and gondolas. The Canal runs from the lagoon near Santa Lucia railway station to Saint Mark Basin and is 3,800m long.


Google Map


Page 209. " Inside the wrapping was a blue cardboard box bearing the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval "

'The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval' is a feature in the women's magazine Good Housekeeping. The feature was established in 1909, and approximately 5,000 products have been given the seal. The chosen products are tested by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute and given a two-year warranty.

Page 220. " an impersonation of Eddie Cantor singing "That's the Kind of a Baby for Me" "
Eddie Cantor was an American performer who made many appearances on Broadway, radio and television. He was a popular figure due to the hilarious anecdotes he told on radio about his wife and children. His nickname was 'Banjo Eyes', a trademark feature often emphasised in illustrations.

Listen on Spotify: Eddie Cantor - That's the Kind of Baby for Me