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Come Hell or Highball

(Discreet Retrieval Agency #1)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,535 ratings  ·  351 reviews
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 sud
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Minotaur Books
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  1,535 ratings  ·  351 reviews

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Richard Derus
Jun 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: borrowed, returned

The faggot did it. For LUUUV of his pretty-boy movie star boyfriend, the studio guy killed them all.

This is the cheapest, crappiest thing for a 21st-century writer to pull that I can imagine. You know, it's the fact that it's part of The Big Reveal that pisses me off so much. Nothing makes me angrier than suddenly revealing the killer is, by the bye, queer...that's obviously part of his criminality and turpitude
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Another mystery series to fall in love with! Set in prohibition era New York City, which I found to be the perfect setting. I loved the characters, especially Berta! She absolutely cracked me up:) There were several scenes in which they left me smiling. This book was simply the bee's knees and I can't wait for the next one in the series!! ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Come Hell or Highball is the story of Lola Woodby, a new widow who soon finds out her dissolute husband left her nothing but debt. Not wanting to move back in with her parents, Lola and her cook, Berta, accept an offer from a showgirl to track down a missing film reel.

I requested an ARC of this book because it looked like a light-hearted comedic story set in the Jazz Age. I barely started it when I knew I made a mistake, but I toughed it out for as long as I could stand it. At about 60% (after
Judy Lesley
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american, detective
I think I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this first novel in the Discreet Retrieval Agency books. Lola Woodby had just barely gotten her very unexpectedly deceased husband into the grave before she was approached about taking on a 'retrieval' job for a woman who looked very much like the type her deceased husband would have gladly done a bit of philandering with. Naturally Lola turned her down, but then the nasty shocks started coming one after the other beginning with find ...more
Kelley A
Apr 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
As another reviewer mentioned, I picked up this book hoping it would be something like Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, but I was left sorely disappointed. The author did not take advantage of the time frame in which the book is supposed to be placed and left me feeling like the characters were running around just playing dress-up. I think she thought using the word "motoring" constantly would did not. The characters were all very one-dimensional, and I wasn't halfway through the book b ...more
Cracking, hilarious mystery with two charming if prickly protagonists romping their way through 1920s New York trailed by an assortment of gangsters, private detectives, unbearable relations and chorus girls. Loved it and can't wait for more! ...more
Dec 15, 2016 marked it as not-going-to-finish
Nothing necessarily wrong with this one but overall I found it boring and unoriginal. What a disappointment! Still, not going to waste my time.
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hilarious murder mystery set in flapper days of New York.
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a quick, entertaining mystery with a fun Twenties feel. You have to love Lola - recently widowed society gal with a penchant for chocolate, highballs, and detective novels - and her Swedish cook-turned-sidekick Berta. Throw in Lola's cute Pomeranian, dashing if threadbare PI Ralph Oliver, Temperance-minded brother-in-law, the society set, silver screen stars, and gangsters, and you have quite an entertaining cast. It also has a great period feel, with speakeasies, classic cars, the afore ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! Set during one of my absolute favorite eras in American history, it stars a 31 year old, full figured society wife - well, former society wife! Her scoundrel husband just died and left her broke. On a "retrieval" mission with her Swedish cook Berta, it's one screwball situation after another in pursuit of a mysterious film reel for one of her husband's chorus girl mistresses. There's also a hunky private detective on her tail, hired to look into her dead husband - or ...more
Laura Lee
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Can't wait for next in the series. Lola is just widowed and left for broke. She and her cook decide to open an agency that "finds things". Funny, fast paced. I laughed out loud. ...more
Debbie Robson
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’ve always thought that Kerry Greenwood the author of all the countless Phryne Fisher mysteries should have started her novels earlier in the decade. After all, the 1920s is one of the most fascinating and fun decades, particularly for women and as a writer you want to make the most of it.
Well Maia Chance the author of Come Hell or High Water has done just that. The novel opens in May 1923 when society matron Lola Woodby’s husband dies leaving her, as it turns out, a pile of debt. Very early o
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An exciting start to a new series! The style and setting are a complete contrast from Snow White Red Handed, the first of Maia Chance's other series, and as with Deanna Raybourn's switch from Lady Julia to the roaring 20's, you can feel the enthusiasm that the author has for the era and the creative buzz it gives her. The story is fast-paced with many twists - the relatively large cast of suspects makes the conclusion a bit sudden and slightly muddled, but that is easily outweighed by the fun of ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did.. Perhaps you'll enjoy it more.. I was attracted to it because I thought that a book set in the 1920's would be interesting and the plot sounded good. But for me, the story just languished, the dialog was forced, and the characters didn't develop well. Perhaps the next book in the series will be better. I may give it a try since it is available at my library. ...more
N.N. Light
I loved this book and read it in one sitting. Charming and can't wait to read more from this author!

My Rating: 5 stars
Donna Craig
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is not profound. It will not influence any major life decisions. Reading should be fun, and this book was a pure pleasure! I laughed and gasped my way through this story of a down-on-her-luck woman and her wonderful cast of friends and enemies. There’s a mystery afoot, and Lola will solve it between highballs, chocolates, and stolen kisses. Her cook-turned-friend Berta is the best of sidekicks, and Ralph makes a wonderful romantic interest. This book contains everything you need for th ...more
Kate Baxter
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars
This was a delightful gem of a book not so much as a twisting mystery with a few red herrings but rather for it witty dialogue. There's the food loving widow of a philandering husband and her trusty cook on the case and it's Prohibition time. Gangsters, wealthy 5th Avenue matrons and speakeasies abound. At the heart of the story is the film industry and all the usual characters one can imagine. Cute start to this series.
Nancy H
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first in an exciting new mystery series, this book is a refreshing read. Set in the Prohibition Era, it tells the story of thirty-one year-old Lola, whose husband has died and left her surpringly penniless. Instead of dutifully returning to her parents' home and having to deal with her more than domineering mother, obnoxioius sister, and manipulative and hateful brother-in-law. Instead she chooses to use her late husband's illicit love nest in New York City to team up with her former cook an ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Janet Evanovitch
Recommended to Jennifer by: Netgalley
I got an advanced copy of Maia Chance’s Come Hell or Highball through Netgalley and found it a silly good time. Set in the early 1920’s, this novel is the first in a series (or so I predict) and is the origin story of Lola Woodby, Private Investigator.

As the novel begins, Lola Woodby is a newly widowed society dame, about to find out many unpleasant things about her husband, Alfie. Lola already knew he was a gambler, a drinker, and a womanizer, but what she didn’t know and finds out in the open
Jessica Marie
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Come Hell or Highball is a fun, light read full of sass, banter, and hi-jinx. The story follows Lola Woodby and her Swedish cook turned side kick Berta. After Lola's loveless marriage ends with her scummy husband's untimely death, Lola finds herself broke and kicked out of her home. With little choices and even less money, Lola and Berta hole up in her late husbands "love nest" apartment in New York. Not wanting to move back with her (awful) family, (seriously, you'll hate them) Lola accepts an ...more
Russell Emlyn
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay book wrecked by a BS "plot twist" at the end.

The writing was readable, if a little choppy for my taste. It was clearly a book to be read, rather than read aloud, as I was doing; the punchy short sentences read better visually than they can be delivered. The plot was well-done, and the period setting was clearly researched and cleverly used. The main character was mostly likeable, though there were a couple times I wanted to shake her, and her Swedish cook sidekick stole the show. This would
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly entertaining, light hearted mystery set in the 1920s amidst society parties, speak-easies and silent movie film stars and producers. Irrepressible Lola, a 30-something society matron fueled by highballs and cinnamon rolls, and her Swedish cook Berta begin a bit of detective work in high society to earn cash after her philandering husband dies unexpectedly and she finds she's "on the nut" (broke). They quickly find themselves evading murderers, gangsters, and wondering whether confidin ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Cozy mysteries need engaging detectives. How about Lola, a rather plump flapper widow and Berta, her Swedish cook--a cook who stays with Lola after she's booted from her home by her brother-in-law since dearly departed hubby blew their fortune on...well I won't give it all away. Enjoy the determination of two women looking for a way to stay independent (or at least not beholden to horrid relatives) and to use talents they're not sure they have. All in all, a fun read. I look forward to the next ...more
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Full disclosure, I won this book as an ARC.

This was an enjoyable first book in a new series by Maia Chance. I like the main characters of Lola and Ralph, and am interested in reading more in the series to see where their story takes them, as individuals, and as a couple. But, the mystery was very convoluted to follow; I am still not sure what the motive was about. Overall, this is a solid start to Chance. And I will read the next in the series.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think this is my first five star rating. Maia Chance wrote a wonderful story set during prohibition. The ending was a shocker, I had picked the wrong murder. Can't wait to read the next book. ...more
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
I might be broken. I should have liked this a lot more than I did. The audio narration is fantastic. It's a cozy mystery without being overly cutesy (no magical baking cats who own knitting shops!). It's set in 1920s New York City. I mean, what's not to love? But...

It just lost steam for me. I started feeling blase' around the halfway point and then started nitpicking at my annoyances soon after. The heroine arguing with the hero while she's LITERALLY DANGLING FROM A ROOF! Her precious baby pupp
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a fun little story. It kind of reminded me of a blend of the movie Clue with a little Veronica Mars and Nancy Drew thrown in. I listened to the audiobook and I definitely think I liked it more than I would have if I had read the print copy.

I love that Lola survives her days with highballs, detective novels, and chocolate layer cake. After her husband dies, she learns they have no many and must escape to his "love nest" with her Swedish cook, Berta. Unable to pay rent or buy a
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
You have gangsters, you have a who dun it, you have a sassy sidekick that isn’t your typical sidekick, and you have Lola Woodby, a recently widowed woman who needs to make ends meet because her husband spent ALL the money. Maia Chance delivers a truly fun book with Come Hell or Highball. Loved the Anita Loos quote at the beginning, loved the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes reference, and honestly just had a good time reading the book.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
This was a really cute mystery that I hope is the beginning of a great series. I love prohibition era novels. This one is a rags to riches to rags again story of a woman and her former cook who slip in and out of speakeasies, house parties, and glamorous department stores in New York City as they try to recover a film for a chorus girl, while the body count piles up!
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“But Alfie had been a horror of a husband. I’d survived my marriage with an unholy combination of highballs, detective novels, and chocolate layer cake.” 2 likes
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