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04 October 2016

Teetotaled by Maia Chance (Tuesday Intros, Teaser Tuesday and a Ramble)

"First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros" is the first paragraph (or two) of a book being read now or in the future and is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. "Teaser Tuesday" from Books and a Beat asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.
After her philandering husband died and left her penniless in Prohibition-era New York, Lola Woodby escaped with her Swedish cook to the only place she could—her deceased husband’s secret love nest in the middle of Manhattan. Her only comforts were chocolate cake, dime store detective novels, and the occasional highball (okay, maybe not so occasional). But rent came due and Lola and Berta were forced to accept the first job that came their way, leading them to set up shop as private detectives operating out of Alfie’s cramped love nest.
Now Lola and Berta are in danger of losing the business they’ve barely gotten off the ground—work is sparse and money is running out. So when a society matron offers them a job, they take it—even if it means sneaking into a slimming and exercise facility and consuming only water and health food until they can steal a diary from Grace Whiddle, a resident at the “health farm.” But barely a day in, Grace and her diary escape from the facility—and Grace’s future mother-in-law is found murdered on the premises. Lola and Berta are promptly fired. But before they can climb into Lola’s brown and white Duesenberg Model A and whiz off the health farm property, they find themselves with a new client and a new charge: to solve the murder of Grace’s future mother-in-law.
Teetotaled, Maia Chance's sparkling new mystery will delight readers with its clever plotting, larger-than-life characters, and rich 1920s atmosphere.






I had requested Maia Chance's Teetotaled from NetGalley on a whim because of the adorable cover and the fact that on that particular day I was feeling a bit burnt out on Chick Lits. When I discovered that it was the second in a series I hightailed it to my library and checked out Come Hell or Highball (which I teased here and rambled about here). I fell in love with Lola and Berta and, of course, Ralph. CHoH was a wonderful start to what I was certain would be a wonderful series.

Reading Come Hell or Highball first isn't necessarily, well, necessary ... but I do highly recommend it. Several characters overlap and it was nice to know what to expect from them. Take Chisolm, for instance. Lola's ex-brother-in-law (her deceased husband's brother)/future-brother-in-law (as he's engaged to Lola's snippy sister) who runs the "health farm" that Lola and Berta end up at? There are reasons why Lola calls him the Prig, is constantly trying to avoid running into her mother and sister, and cringes whenever an article appears in the newspaper written by Ida Shanks. And, of course, reading Come Hell or Highball first would let you experience the beginning of her relationship with Ralph.

(Excuse me for a moment or two while I swoon ... because Ralph is definitely swoon worthy!)

Anyway, back to our Discreet Retrieval Agency. Lola and Berta have an amazing relationship that has definitely been enhanced since they moved past their original roles of employer and cook to the roles of partners. Berta does still call Lola "Mrs. Woodby" (... then again, so does Ralph at times ...), but having been so ensconced in the Society set for so long, this doesn't really feel out of place.  Berta is reliable and invaluable to the investigations, Lola's sanity, and keeping the story going. Granted, at times she keeps the story going in a direction you wouldn't expect a butter-loving cook in her sixties to take. (Just wait until you hit Coney Island with them!)  Lola, meanwhile, shows time and again how she's so much more than a typical Society Matron and able to hold her own with the rich and powerful as well as the goonish and seedy. (Not that there's always a distinct separation between them, of course.)

I've read a lot of mysteries over the years and have become quite a decent armchair/bus seat/curled-up-in-bed detective. There are several mysteries tangled up together in Teetotaled but it only ever gets confusing for the reader when it gets confusing for our dynamic duo (or trio if Ralph is tagging along). Maia Chance gives just enough information that everything makes sense without making it obvious and I love that. Too many times with cozies I feel like I've solved the crime in question before it's even been committed! That didn't happen with the first book in the series and it definitely didn't happen here.

And now I have to deal with the downfall of NetGalley. 

Reading things in advance or at the time of release has the horrid side effect of then needing to wait even longer for more. I only waited a month between Come Hell or Highball and Teetotaled and now I'll have to go through some serious withdrawal before the next one comes out. On the upside, Chance has a fairy tale based series I've been eyeing plus another series due to start this coming June. That will be plenty to keep me occupied while I wait to see what Lola and Berta get tangled up with next, right?

Golly, who am I trying to kid? The wait will be as bad as Lola without chocolate! Hurry up and write, Maia!


  1. I do love that cover, and enjoy stories set in that era. I also love the sound of the characters. Enjoy! Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “COME AND FIND ME”

  2. This does sound like a fun book. I'll have to look for the first in the series too. My teaser this week comes from the latest Otherworld anthology - Otherworld Chills by Kelley Armstrong. Happy reading!

  3. I agree with laurel on the cover. So attractive. I like the opening too, though not normally the type of book I read.

  4. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but, I am curious for more.

  5. I like the intro. I would keep reading. Enjoy!

  6. I, also, love this era and the teaser is wonderful! Isn't it true, sometimes when you say something you never expected to say and it just comes out, it is SO liberating. Sounds like a fun book. Here's the link to my intro and teaser from The Forgotten Garden: http://wp.me/p4DMf0-1jv