Wouldn't It Be Deadly
A Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery by D. E. Ireland
Review: D. E. Ireland reimagines the literary characters Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle as a charming pair of amateur sleuths in Wouldn't It Be Deadly, the first in a new series.
The story opens in 1913 London, after the Embassy Ball in which Henry Higgins proved he could pass off a common Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a duchess. Eliza has moved out of Henry's home and is staying with his mother. She has also begun a job as the assistant to a Hungarian, Maestro Emil Nepommuck, a competitor of Higgins in the art of elocution by teaching the King's English to those who want to raise their stature in life and be accepted by the elite. There is a slight problem, however; Nepommuck, when advertising for students, said he was the one who turned Eliza Doolittle from a Cockney flower girl into a lady. When Higgins reads this, he immediately submits proof that it was he, Higgins, who trained Eliza, proving that Nepommuck was a fraud. Higgins also threatened the Maestro by telling him he must promise to tell the truth in the future … or else. When Nepommuck is found dead, stabbed in the back, Higgins becomes Scotland Yard's prime suspect. Eliza, knowing Higgins is innocent, begins an investigation on her own by questioning some of his students. With Higgin's help they find out that Nepommuck was black-mailing a number of them, threatening to make public secrets they had told him. These students, not surprisingly, are glad he is dead and Eliza and Higgins believe one of them is the culprit. In order to discover which one and thus prove Higgins' innocence, they must move through the aristocratic environs of Mayfair in London and on into the dark surroundings the dangerous back alleys of the East End, where Eliza grew up. When all the suspects are together at the Drury Lane Theatre, Eliza and Higgins show up and race on stage to confront the one they believe is the killer.
Wouldn't It Be Deadly is a delightful, cleverly plotted mystery, with engaging characters showing wit and good humor. Henry and Eliza are still at odds with each other over their recent past, of course, but they come together in an admirable manner to identify a killer. Thoroughly enjoyable, this is a sparkling start to this new series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Wouldn't It Be Deadly.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Wouldn't It Be Deadly for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Move Your Blooming Corpse
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), September 2015
ISBN-13: 9781250049360; ISBN-10: 1250049369
Location(s) referenced in Wouldn't It Be Deadly: London, England
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Wouldn't It Be Deadly by D. E. Ireland — A Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: September 2014
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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