Called to Vermont by an anonymous letter, two female detectives break down Prohibition barriers to enjoy themselves while getting into trouble on a case.
Mrs. Woodby and Mrs. Lundgren, or Lola and Berta, have never been quite the ladies that Prohibition-era New York society requires them to be. They’d rather pursue investigations as The Discreet Retrieval Agency than keep house, and not just because neither has a husband. Mrs. Woodby has had a more traditional life, with Berta as her maid, but the two are happier in the throes of a mystery than in more boringly comfortable luxury. When their professional services are requested to recover a stolen ring—an invitation that arrives in an anonymous note—the two look at the request as an adventure rather than a questionable case. To Vermont they go, where they’ve been bidden to crash the Goddard family’s fancy party, recover the ring from mischievous, demented Great Aunt Daphne, and return it to a breadbox so that it can be restored to…whomever it is who’s hired them. More questions might be posed by those less keen for adventure, like the police, who are called in when the plot goes surprisingly, yet predictably, awry. Matriarch Judith Goddard is killed at the gathering, and the authorities are more inclined to suspect those out-of-town party crashers Mrs. Woodby and Mrs. Lundgren rather than any of Judith’s adult children, Fenton, George, or Rosemary, who might (imagine that!) be looking to inherit early. Now stuck in snowy Vermont with few options for fashionable attire, the ladies use their wiles and their luck to unravel the mystery while Berta is wooed by suitors determined to keep her in the great north against Mrs. Woodby’s strenuous objections.
Charming one-liners battle overelaborate setups with insufficient payoffs that are serious distractions from the latest developments in Chance’s enjoyable, tangent-filled series (Gin and Panic, 2017, etc.).