Pros: Strong characters and sense of time
Cons: Plot seems to start slowly
The Bottom Line:
House party murder
Maybe hunting accident?
More fun with duo
Henry and Eliza Must Solve a Murder at a House Party
1913 has turned out to be a very murderous year for Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins. As With a Little Bit of Blood opens, the duo, made famous by the play Pygmalion that was turned into the musical My Fair Lady, are about to be faced with their fourth murder case. And readers can rejoice because it’s another great one.
This time they have been invited to join the first country house party being thrown by the new Lord and Lady Ashbury (she the former Clara Eynsford-Hill). Considering the series of bad luck that Eliza and Henry have been having, this is perfect because they need a place to stay.
While Eliza is excited about her first fox hunt at the end of the week and the ball that will take place that night, Henry is afraid that he will be bored out of his mind. Things only get worse for Henry when one of the fellow guests is a woman who stalked him several years earlier. It’s not until the first morning that things take a deadly turn, however, when one of the guests is shot on the rabbit hunt. While Henry is quick to chalk it up to a hunting accident, Eliza is certain that it was murder. But do any of the guests have a reason for wanting that man dead?
I will admit I found the book started rather slowly. It was only later that we realized just how some things were playing into the overall plot. Additionally, the time was used to introduce the victim and suspects.
Once the murder happens, things do get much more interesting as lies and secrets are uncovered. I really didn’t suspect who the killer was, but once Eliza and Henry figured it out, everything made perfect sense.
A few of the series regulars are really reduced to cameos here. We get brief updates on them before Henry and Eliza head to the house party. However, there are more than enough suspects to make up for it. We actually have a rather large cast, but the characters are all strong. I never once had a hard time keeping them straight. We continue to see some growth in the series regulars, and I’m anxious to see how some relationships move forward after what happens here.
The authors do a good job of bringing the world of 1913 to life with such new things as cars and airplanes factoring into this book. Yet, with the fun they have with some of those things, there are more serious things happening in the world at large, which come into the plot a time or two as well.
As the series goes on, it has gotten further from the original roots of the famous play and musical while still staying true to the authors’ take on the characters. That’s not to say that fans of the source material will be disappointed. In fact, I think they will be as enthralled as I am by how the duo who comprise D. E. Ireland have moved these characters forward.
With a Little Bit of Blood is another winner for fans of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins. It’s a fun trip back in time to England 100 years ago.
And be sure to enjoy the rest of the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.