Gin and Panic: A Mystery by Maia Chance (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 278 pages)
Spunky Lady Detectives Redux.
We meet again – Lola Woodby, widow and self-made detective, and Berta Lundgren, former cook for Ms. Woodby, are running low on funds because even odd retrieval jobs such as finding lost laundry carts and missing pooches won’t finance their pared down lifestyle. Gin and Panic is the third novel in the Discreet Retrieval Agency Mysteries series featuring Lola and Berta. Happily, this installment is as charming, humorous, and fast-paced as author Chance’s prior work, Teetotaled.
The time is the 1920s and the action takes place in New York City and Connecticut. An English country house weekend set in rural Connecticut provides the perfect excuse for witty pitch perfect quips and charming asides to the reader by Lola who is the narrator. Snappy dialogue among the cast of weekend guests advances the plot while revealing their intentions and proclivities.
The owner of the estate, Rudy Montgomery, has a rhinoceros head trophy that Lord Eustace Sudley believes is rightly his. Lord Sudley engages Lola and Berta to spirit away the trophy while pretending to be his friends along for the weekend. As the plot thickens, code for somebody dies under mysterious circumstances, the scene shifts back and forth between New York and Connecticut at a rather breakneck pace.
Ms. Chance is mindful of the reader’s need for more than just plot twists and red herrings. There are scenes full of cinematic details of the long ago U.S. Prohibition era. Lastly, she has crafted character development that bodes well for future installments of the adventures of Lola and Berta. Well done!
This book will be released on October 24, 2017.
A review copy was received from the publisher.