Written by Maia Chance
Review by Ellen Keith

Lola Woodby would be a merry widow if her cheating husband had left her any money. Instead, he left her broke and forced to work, establishing the Discreet Retrieval Agency with her cook, Berta Lundgren. To make matters worse, it’s 1923, so Prohibition makes her beloved highball illegal. Finding lost cats isn’t paying the bills, so Lola and Berta accept a job from Sophronia Whiddle, who engages them to steal her daughter Grace’s diary. Grace is on the verge of an advantageous marriage, and her mother doesn’t want the diary to fall in the wrong hands.

Just as in Lola and Berta’s first outing, Come Hell or Highball, nothing goes according to plan. Befitting its 1920s setting, the plot resembles a screwball comedy. Lola, the younger of the pair, indulges in romance magazines, while Berta, older, stern, and Swedish, thinks pulp classics like Mexico City Mayhem will help them hone their craft. The mystery itself is almost beside the point. Chance populates the tale with equally nutty characters and a vivid sense of Prohibition-era New York, from the clothes to the cars to the conversations.