Come Hell or Highball by Maia Chance (Guest Review by @sophiarose1816)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Come Hell or Highball by Maia Chance#1Discreet Retrieval AgencyHistorical MysteryPublisher: Minotaur BooksPublished: 9.15.15Pages:  320Rating: 4Format: Print /Source: Purchased/Sellers:  BN | Amazon | +Goodreads 
GoodReads Blurb:
In this Prohibition-era caper, society matron Lola Woodby agrees to recover a stolen film reel for its rightful owner, but before she can retrieve it, the man in possession of the reel is killed.
30-year-old society matron Lola Woodby has survived her loveless marriage with an unholy mixture of highballs, detective novels, and chocolate layer cake, until her husband dies suddenly, leaving her his fortune…or so Lola thought. As it turns out, all she inherits from Alfie is a big pile of debt. Pretty soon, Lola and her stalwart Swedish cook, Berta, are reduced to hiding out in the secret love nest Alfie kept in New York City. But when rent comes due, Lola and Berta have no choice but to accept an offer made by one of Alfie’s girls-on-the-side at his funeral: in exchange for a handsome sum of money, the girl wants Lola to retrieve a mysterious reel of film for her. It sounds like an easy enough way to earn the rent money. But Lola and Berta realize they’re in way over their heads when, before they can retrieve it, the man currently in possession of the film reel is murdered, and the reel disappears. On a quest to retrieve the reel and solve the murder before the killer comes after them next, Lola and Berta find themselves navigating one wacky situation after another in high style and low company.

A new quirky, colorful detective heroine emerges in this Roaring 20's cozy mystery that dazzles the reader with high society, gangsters, and Prohibition era murder, and mayhem.

Lola Woodby, her side-kick Swedish cook Berta, and a questionable gumshoe detective take on the mob, filmstars, and Lola's family with the last group being the ones she avoided the most

The tone of the book is light and Lola is on the daffy side so this one felt more cozy mystery than hardcore historical mystery.  It had a nice flavoring of the era though it didn't dig too deep.  Lola is middle-aged, average-figured and a new widow though it was a relief to get away from her womanizing louse of a husband even if she is now penniless and must find a way to earn a living.  She has no idea what she is doing half the time letting her emotions and odd starts lead her through the case.  She's more lucky than good, but it was fun to see her sneaking about and nosing out the clues one by one.

There's a fun cast of quirky characters surrounding Lola that added a good layer to the story.  I felt sorry for Lola stuck with her snooty family, but because they were so stuffy, they were hilarious.  Lola's amateur detecting partner, Berta is a great foil as is Ralph Oliver the private eye who is always around and interested in Lola as more than his assignment and tries to teach her something about the art of detecting.  The other society people out on Long Island, the film folks and the gangsters were the color and did a great job providing the excitement.  And my favorite?  Well that was Hibbers the butler who notices everything, supports Lola, and concocts a mean highball.

The mystery was somewhat trickier than I thought.  It started with a gal willing to hire Lola to get a film canister back and then people started dying as more motives and suspects came into the picture.  I figured out some of the sneaking around and secrets, but I didn't figure out the actual murders before the end.  I would have never worked that out and was a tad disappointed, but I can see how it sort of tied in with the direction I was going for the solution.

In the end, I was well-pleased with the first in a new to me series by an author I hadn't read previously.  I enjoyed the humorous tones, the 20's setting, and the characters.  There was excitement and escapades that made it a tad more exciting than the usual arm-chair whodunnit.

Many thanks to Sophia for stopping by BnB Reviews! 😄

Sophia Rose
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.  Associate Reviewer for Delighted Reader blog
Where You Can Find Sophia via Social Media: Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter


  1. ooh I love satires like this! Bookmarking for the library!!

    1. It was a fun one. Easy read, but had some ironic moments.

  2. I like this period, and sometimes wish I could travel back and forth to experience it. Great review! Hugs...

    1. The 20s sure do interest me, too, Ro. I chuckled over some of the slang used back then in this one and love the fashion.