Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong, growing characters in a fun mystery
Cons: All cons buried in the grave
The Bottom Line:
Wedding day murder
Henry, Eliza are back
Series is still strong
Four Weddings and a Murder
It’s always heart breaking when a series you love gets canceled. But when another publisher picks it up, that is cause for rejoicing. So when the writing team of D. E. Ireland found a new home for their delightful Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mysteries, I definitely rejoiced, and I jumped at a chance to read Get Me to the Grave on Time. The series may have changed publishers, but fans will still absolutely love it.
If you are new to the series, it picks up after the events of Pygmalion, more famous as the musical My Fair Lady, and features all the characters you love. As a result, the series is set in 1913 London society, and with the various character’s backgrounds, we get quite a view of the world at that time.
As this book opens, linguistics professor Henry Higgins is disappointed at the prospect of four weddings in the next four weeks. It seems various friends and relatives are getting married and expecting Higgins to show up. On the other hand, Eliza Doolittle is delighted since it gives her a chance to show off some new dresses she’s bought. Her only worry is that Freddy Eynsford Hill, her boyfriend, will view this as an opportunity to propose. Again.
But the unthinkable happens at the first wedding they attend. After the guests have left the church, the groom is found dead – poisoned. Why would someone kill the groom on his wedding day? Despite their past success finding killers, Henry and Eliza don’t want to dig into this one. However, an incident at the next wedding they attend makes it personal, and they begin trying to find the connection. What could it be?
Those new to the world of this series can jump in here. We get enough background on the characters that even if you haven’t seen the plays or movie that first introduced us to these characters, you’ll understand what has happened before. And they certainly don’t spoil the previous mysteries, although anything we’ve learned in the previous books relating to the characters and where they are now is explained as well.
But all this explaining doesn’t slow down the mystery. Things get off to a quick start, and that pace continues for the entire book. The plot weaves in some interesting themes and suspects before we reach the climax. And what a climax! I’m not going to spoil anything about it; I’m just going to say that I loved it.
Over the course of the first two books, the authors have done a great job of making these characters their own. They’ve fleshed them out and added to what we know of them from the original source material. That continues here, and I truly love how they have evolved everyone. They’ve taken the edges off of Henry, which is important since I actually find him rather annoying in My Fair Lady (to put it mildly). They’ve given Eliza more self-confidence. All of this character growth feels natural for the characters. The supporting characters from the play have been getting the same treatment. Of course, the characters introduced for this mystery are just as strong and real.
The book does a great job of exploring the various social issues happening in England in 1913. Over the course of the book, we get a good look at a wide range of social groups, and it’s an interesting glimpse into life back then.
Not to say that the book is all serious. There are some truly laugh out loud moments that are completely delightful.
The author continue to use limited third person narration to tell their story, switching between Eliza and Henry to convey the action. It’s a wonderful technique that they use to perfect effect.
If you haven’t read this series yet, I really can’t recommend it highly enough. Whether you start from the beginning or jump in with Get Me to the Grave on Time, you’ll find yourself swept to another time and place and loving every page of it.
Be sure to check out the rest of the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mysteries.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.