Gin and Panic
by Chance, Maia

In prohibition-era New York, struggling former socialite and private investigator Lola Woodby and her Swedish sidekick, Berta, take on a simple case involving big-game hunter Rudy Montgomery that quickly escalates into a madcap murder investigation.

MAIA CHANCE was a finalist for the 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. She is writing her dissertation on nineteenth-century American literature. She is also the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal mystery series (Cinderella Six Feet Under, Snow White Red-Handed, and Beauty, Beast and Belladonna).

It sounded like a simple job: attend a house party and put the rhinoceros trophy head in the trunk of the client's car. Now partners in their own detective agency, Lola Woodby, a New York socialite before being widowed, and Berta, her former cook, happily take big-game hunter Lord Sudley's job, for the money if not for the free gin, a key consideration during Prohibition. So, Lola and Berta hop in the Duesenberg and tool up the highway to an oceanside estate in Connecticut, home of Rudy Montgomery. As Lola and Berta arrive, Sudley and others are returning from a hunting trip; introductions are barely complete when shots are heard, and Montgomery is found dead. Suicide, the police say, but Sudley believes otherwise and engages Lola and Berta to investigate. Over the next week, there are numerous trips to and from New York, a fateful train trip to Boston, a visit to a Greenwich Village speakeasy, and a midnight excursion across a college campus. Disguises abound, and Lola begins even to question Berta in this third in Chance's entertainingly madcap series. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

A socialite-turned-private eye makes waves in an investigation of a hunting trophy that turns into a murder case.Though the Discreet Retrieval Agency is hardly a profitable pursuit, widow Lola Woodby is determined to continue solving mysteries (Teetotaled, 2016, etc.) with her former cook, Berta, a formidable Swede. Their latest client is wealthy Lord Eustace Sudley, who wants them to retrieve a stuffed and mounted rhinoceros head from his friend and hunting companion Rudy Montgomery, saying it actually belongs to him. Berta is eager for the agency to take the case, if only to keep them in chocolate cake. Lola has her eyes on a bigger prize: she's sure that her boyfriend, Ralph Oliver, is about to give her a ring. But Lola may not be the detective she believes she is, for when she meets Ralph at dinner, he presents her a gift box containing a gun, indicating that he'd rather she be safe in her single state than become his wife. Thrown by Ralph's lack of commitment, Lola decid es to take the job with Lord Sudley, and she and Berta head to Connecticut's Montgomery Hall to hunt the rhinoceros trophy in its newest habitat. Forced to hobnob with weekend guests, Lola feels right at home with her wealthy employer and friends, unlike Berta, who just wants to get the job done. The stakes rise dramatically when Rudy is shot and killed and Lord Sudley hires the agency for a proper murder investigation. Berta doesn't trust Lord Sudley's intentions, but Lola thinks the investigation might offer a way to get over Ralph, and the possibility that Lord Sudley wants to keep her around for romantic reasons is the perfect olive in her martini. Gratuitous complications weigh down the charms of this jinxed investigation, which don't ring as true as the setups of Chance's modern-day series (Bad Housekeeping, 2017, etc.). Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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