The Last Martini: A Hangover Bedside Companion

Mosaic Press

The Last Martini: A Hangover Bedside Companion

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Next to sex and death, the hangover is perhaps the most universal of experiences. It transcends race, nationality, gender, and political persuasion. It is an experience that has been described in writing from ancient times through to the present day.

The moment at which alcoholic drinks were first discovered is an event lost in the mists of history. The moment at which the hangover was discovered, however, can be pinpointed more precisely. The latter discovery took place some six to ten hours after the former.

The Last Martini is a wry and amusing look at the prevalence of the hangover experience through the history of literature. It is the first survey of some of the most vivid, hilarious and moving descriptions of hangovers and their sufferers that has ever been compiled. While the book is far from comprehensive — the list of hangover scenes is a lengthy one — it is a unique and intriguing introduction to the field.

The title is taken from W.S. van Dyke's 1934 film version of Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man. On Christmas morning Nick Charles lies on the bed with coffee and a newspaper. His wife Nora emerges from the bathroom in an elegant nightgown, an ice pack on her head. “What hit me?” she asks.

“The last martini,” Nick replies.

The Last Martini is not a book of hangover cures and placebos, instead, it is a celebration of the countless different ways in which authors have described the experience. While the book includes the sardonic, understanding humour most writers have found in those dismal mornings after, it also features excerpts, such as those by Hubert Selby Jr and Charles Jackson, that reflect the real life tragedy and pathos that excess can bring.

The Last Martini is the kind of book that can be read cover to cover or dipped into at random. It can be enjoyed by everyone who has ever had a hangover and by everyone who’s never had one and wants to know what they’ve been missing.


Writing in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Jon L. Breen called Peter Sellers “one of the key figures in the Canadian mystery renaissance of the 80s and 90s.” Peter has published dozens of stories in every major mystery magazine, including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine and Hardboiled, and in numerous crime and dark fantasy anthologies in both Canada and the United States. Thirteen of his darkest and most bizarre works are collected in the book Whistling Past the Graveyard, published in 1999 by Mosaic Press.