Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review: Move Your Blooming Corpse by D. E. Ireland (Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mysteries #2)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful mystery populated with great characters
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
These literary
Icons get new life in great
Mystery for all




These Pages Will Move Quickly

Earlier this year, I rediscovered the characters of Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle as detectives thanks to the wonderful writing team of D. E. Ireland.  I was looking forward to their next adventure in Move Your Blooming Corpse.  I’m thrilled to say that it is another winner.

If those names don’t ring any bells, they are two of the characters in George Bernard Shaw’s classic play Pygmalion.  Still not ringing any bells?  You might know them best from the musical My Fair Lady which was based on Pygmalion.  The bare essentials – Henry Higgins is an expert in dialects and proper pronunciation in 1910’s England.  As a bet, he teaches Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney young woman, to speak proper English and passes her off as someone of the upper classes.  While there was no mystery in the original story, these mysteries take place after the events that made the characters famous and fit quite naturally into their world.

This book opens in June of 1913 and finds Eliza and Higgins at the Royal Ascot for a full day of racing.  They are there to support Eliza’s father who has just bought a share of a race horse.  Between races, Higgins sees a strange man, Harold Hewitt, with a gun hidden in his bag.  Before he can find a policeman to report it to, Hewitt runs onto the track, getting trample by a horse and disrupting a race.  The bigger surprise is when a woman is found murdered in a horse stall after that race.

While the police think that Hewitt is a suffragette reenacting a stunt done the previous month to gain attention for the cause, Higgins is certain that the man was up to something else.  In fact, Higgins thinks he could have prevented the murder in the stable if only he had reported Hewitt sooner.  Dragging Eliza along, Higgins begins to investigate.  But when another murder takes place, Eliza begins to realize that the murders could hit close to home.  Will Eliza and Henry be able to solve the crime before disaster strikes again?

The book definitely starts out strongly with mysterious events happening from the very first chapter.  Eliza is a bit reluctant to start investigating early on, but once she jumps on board as well, the pace really picks up and I had a hard time putting the book down until the page turning climax.  The pieces of the puzzle come together in a logical manner and the mystery is absolutely wonderful.

The first book had a lot of nods and homages to Pygmalion and My Fair Lady.  Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t seen either play in several years, but I didn’t find as many of them here.  However, that’s not a bad thing because it means the writers are making these characters their own, and to sustain a long running series, they will have to do that.  I’m all in favor of this being a long running series, too.  I could definitely see character growth in the main cast, most of it for the better.  (Really, I’m with Eliza and would love to knock some sense into the Eynsford-Hills.)  Even so, those who love these characters from the plays will certainly recognize them.  The new characters were well developed and interesting as well, and I enjoyed getting to know them, too.  I wouldn’t complain if one or two of them had cameos (or larger roles) in future books, in fact.

The historical details of the book are wonderful, and I found myself getting lost in another time and place as I read.  The campaign to give women the right to vote was definitely a part of that historical feel, and I liked seeing that fight first hand.

There is a fun sense of humor in this book as well.  While there isn’t a laugh on every page, I found myself grinning and chuckling multiple times as I read through the story.

D. E. Ireland has turned these classic characters into their own so effortlessly, it almost makes me wonder why no one has done it before.  If you are a fan of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, or just historical mysteries in general, you need to pick up Move Your Blooming Corpse.

GIVEAWAY:

Thanks to the authors, I have one copy of this book (unautographed) to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, September 29th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 9/29.

15 comments:

  1. I would love to read and review this AMAZING book❤️📚 Thank you. Pennymarks@frontier.com

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  2. This is a series I'm really looking forward to trying. It sounds so entertaining and how could I resist the premise! Katherine.e.pitts@gmail.com

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  3. I've never read anything by this author. It sounds like a series I would enjoy! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

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  4. I would love to read and review this book. Thank you for the giveaway.
    peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

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  5. I loved the first one. I am happy that the new one is just as good.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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  6. We were just talking about the movie My Fair Lady at work! Looks like a good historical cozy, thanks for the chance to win!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. Thanks for a great review! Thanks for the chance to win it! patucker54 (at aol dot com)

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  8. Hi Mark. It's nice to meet you and to have an opportunity to partake of your reviews. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book. I've been wanting to get a copy of it to read. robeader53@yahoo.com

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  9. Aways loved My Fair Lady, so a series about a detective in her family tree sounds like a great read.
    elainehroberson@gmail.com

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  10. This series is new to me but I can't wait to get started on it! christinedenicola@gmail.com

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  11. This series sounds right up my alley. I'm a first time visitor to this blog-or at least I think I am. I found my way here after all the comments on this review on DorothyL. Anyway, I'd love to win! stclairck@gmail.com

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  12. The first book in the series is on my TBR -- I'm so glad that the second one is a winner, too!

    I'm fascinated by that time period. There was a special exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery when we were in London last year, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the suffragette attack on a painting in that museum. Here's a terrific article in the Guardian about the display: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/jul/24/portrait-angry-lady-suffragette-christabel-pankhurst-national-portrait-gallery

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    1. Wow, thanks for the link on the suffragette attack.

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  13. This sounds like a great book, I would love to have an opportunity to read it. Count me in please :-)

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  14. Hi Mark, I’m discovering you via Joy’s British Isles Friday meme. So sorry I missed you last week! I have two blogs but since you’re such a huge fan of both books, tv and film AND Disney you might enjoy my book to movie blog at Chapter1-Take1: http://bit.ly/1iOyp2f

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