Naughty on Ice is the latest in Maia Chance’s dazzlingly fun Prohibition-era caper series featuring society matron Lola Woodby and her stalwart Swedish cook, Berta.
The Discreet Retrieval Agency is doing a brisk holiday business of retrieving lost parcels, grandmas, and stolen wreaths. But with their main squeezes Ralph and Jimmy once more on the back burner, both Lola and Berta pine for a holiday out of New York City. So when they receive a mysterious Christmas card requesting that they retrieve an antique ring at a family gathering in Maple Hill, Vermont, they jump at the chance. Sure, the card is signed Anonymous and it’s vaguely threatening, but it’s Vermont.
In Maple Hill, several estranged members of the wealthy Goddard family gather. And no sooner do Lola and Berta recover the ring—from Great-Aunt Cressida Goddard’s arthritic finger—than Mrs. Goddard goes toes-up, poisoned by her Negroni cocktail on ice. When the police arrive, Lola and Berta are caught-red-handed with the ring, and it becomes clear that they were in fact hired not for their cracker-jack retrieving abilities, but to be scapegoats for murder.
With no choice but to unmask the killer or be thrown in the slammer, Lola and Berta’s investigations lead them deep into the secrets of Maple Hill. In a breathless pursuit along a snowy ridge, with a lovelorn Norwegian ski instructor and country bumpkin hooch smugglers hot on their heels, Lola and Berta must find out once and for all who’s nice...and who’s naughty.
Chance's light-hearted third Discreet Retrieval Agency mystery (after 2017's Gin and Panic) takes former socialite-turned-detective Lola Woodby and her partner, cook Berta Lundgren, to Maple Hill, Vt., in the winter of 1923. An anonymous client has invited them to a family celebration to retrieve a stolen ruby ring from Aunt Daphne, who's likely to be drunk, and leave it in a bread box. What should have been a simple switcheroo turns sinister when the guest of honor, Judith Goddard, drops dead after sipping a cocktail. When Lola and Berta realize that the police view them as the prime suspects, they set out to discover who really poisoned Judith before they end up behind bars. Lola is a rather inept detective, and Berta is no help when her head is turned by two elderly local swains. Fortunately, Lola's on-again-off-again sweetheart, Ralph Oliver, eventually shows up to help crack the case and heat up their romance. Cozy lovers who enjoy their mysteries with a healthy dose of Jazz Age hijinks will have fun.