"Pongáio" was the name my Aunt Mona gave to a long, green, cool room where we gathered at her home —
replete with comfy chairs, a rocker, sewing machine, sewing goods, beautiful beads, shelves, books, bibelots, photographs, odds'n'ends, mementos of a life, treasures —
a gathering of all the useful & 'useless' things that so make life a pleasure.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Detective and The Sugar Bag

I grew up reading detective, or mystery, novels.

Every year, my father would bring home the new Agatha Christie, as well as any oldies that we didn't already have. My mother also grew up reading Agatha Christie, so I guess it was already in the dna.

Of all the different authors/books we had, and still have, I think Margery Allingham's, and her "people" — gentleman detective Albert Campion and the all — are my favorites.

Sometime in the early sixties, my father found and started buying Allingham's detective novels; I still love them. Every once in a while, I'll go on a binge, a marathon, and read them in chronological order, or whatever order.

Being true to their period, and of a time and and age that basically doesn't exist anymore, and of another country, many a times I come up against expressions and... things that I know nothing of, but have had to wing it in my imagination.

So, much to my surprise, a little while ago looking through a catalog of vintage miniatures, one mystery was solved! My thanks to Google!
     The soft light spread feebly over the small room, making the bed a pool of colour in the dark surround. On it, stretched diagonally across its wide expanse, was sleeping a sandy man. His compact and powerful body was fully clad save for his jacket, and his cheek was cradled against his shirt-clad arm. He had removed his shoes, and his feet, in discreetly checkered socks, were folded over one another on Minnie's print dress for the party.
     'Tonker!' Minnie stood staring at the apparition. 'When did you come back? Tonker wake up.'
     He opened one eye, as blue as a sugar bag, and smiled with singular sweetness.
     'Hullo, Minnie darling. I'm having a zizz.'
     'Tonker! What have you done with the child? Where is he? Tonker, wake up.'
     A delighted giggle behind them settled the main problem. Rupert, with Choc behind him, came in from the larger room whose fresh decorations Emma had displayed so proudly earlier in the day.
— page 70

     Mr Campion caught a glimpse of popping sugar-bag eyes as Tonker fielded this gift from God.
— page 123
from: The Estate of the Beckoning Lady, by Margery Allingham, my well-loved, dog-eared Macfadden paperback edition, 1972.    © 1955 by Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Sugar-bag Blue

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