Come Hell or Highball by Maia Chance
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Description: In this Prohibition-era caper, society matron Lola Woodby agrees to recover a stolen film reel for its rightful owner, but before seh 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.
Charming, witty, often laugh-out-loud funny, Maia Chance's Come Hell or Highball introduces a sparkling new voice in crime fiction. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: I can't resist a 20s setting and this is an author I've been wanting to try.
My Impression: I've read a pretty decent number of historical mysteries but very few historical COZY mysteries which this most definitely in. Think the setting and wardrobe of Phyrnne Fisher meets the zaniness and hi-jinks of I Love Lucy with a dash of murder and some showgirls.
The mystery is fun and interesting but more than that I loved the setting and the characters. I loved how very 20s the setting was. It's definitely not just window dressing. The clothes, the cars, the slang, and just general way of life ring true and really added to my enjoyment. I liked that while Lola is clearly over her head she's not an idiot and is determined to not make something (anything but moving back in with her parents!) work. Berta is the voice of reason and the source of cinnamon rolls and adds a bit of levity and common sense to the whole book.
This is on the cutesy side of the cozy spectrum as comedic mysteries frequently are but the 20s time period kept it from being over the top cutesy and kept it in the fun realm. The mystery itself is interesting and I liked the way that Lola got involved. Plus I'd dearly love Berta to make me a cinnamon roll or maybe some snickerdoodles!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely! I look forward to seeing where this series goes and I've had the Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery series on my TBR for awhile.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes, if you enjoy a mystery and like a 1920s setting this is definitely one to try out.