Friday, 10 April 2009


erm.... it's the only pic I've got with a fag in it, OK?

Peter Ashley, over on Unmitigated England, has put out a call for literary references to cigarette brands. It's the sort of thing that had me racking my brains, uselessly as it turned out, as, while I'm sure I've seen loads, none came to mind.

(What does racking brains involve? -I've racked home-made wine many times, siphoning off the clear stuff and leaving the gunk in the bottom of the demijohn. Rightly or wrongly, this is the image I get in my mind when I see a reference to racking of brains. Then I feel a bit queasy and have to lie down...)

I'm re-reading Margery Allingham's Campion novels at the moment, and stumbled upon this, in The Beckoning Lady. Appropriately enough, a little detective work is required. Can you identify the brands alluded to? -I've got an idea for the first one, but I'm all at sea over the others. Clue: published 1955

"...I wonder if I could trouble you for a cigarette, Mr. Campion?"
The thin man produced his case gravely and offered it to him. "Sailors," he said. "Or I have some Laymans."
South was grinning, but he was disappointed. "Thank you very much," he said helping himself. "I usually smoke Blue Zephyrs," he added shamelessly.
"Then you do yourself proud," murmured Mr. Campion, still very seriously.