by D.E. Ireland
Amazon / Goodreads
Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins make an incomparable pair of sleuths in the start of a delightful new series
Following her successful appearance at an Embassy Ball—where Eliza Doolittle won Professor Henry Higgins’ bet that he could pass off a Cockney flower girl as a duchess—Eliza becomes an assistant to his chief rival Emil Nepommuck. After Nepommuck publicly takes credit for transforming Eliza into a lady, an enraged Higgins submits proof to a London newspaper that Nepommuck is a fraud. When Nepommuck is found with a dagger in his back, Henry Higgins becomes Scotland Yard’s prime suspect. However, Eliza learns that most of Nepommuck’s pupils had a reason to murder their blackmailing teacher. As another suspect turns up dead and evidence goes missing, Eliza and Higgins realize the only way to clear the Professor’s name is to discover which of Nepommuck’s many enemies is the real killer. When all the suspects attend a performance of Hamlet at Drury Lane, Eliza and Higgins don their theatre best and race to upstage a murderer.
This reimagining of George Bernard Shaw’s beloved characters is sheer pleasure. Wouldn’t It Be Deadly transports readers to Edwardian London, from the aristocratic environs of Mayfair to the dangerous back alleys of the East End. Eliza and Henry steal the show in this charming traditional mystery.
Review:As a reimagining of Eliza, Higgins and Pickering all together again in another adventure, I found this a delightful read. Eliza, especially, is such a fun character to me - so full of surprises and a flair for improvising. She's so smart too and I love that the other characters underestimate that. Higgins felt a bit more brusque and unkind than I remembered, but it fit in well with the dynamic the authors were going for in this story.
As a mystery, I thought the story felt a bit cobbled together. There were clues that I felt were disregarded for too long, and then so many red herrings, that it was hard to get any sense of where the mystery would go. But then again, because it was all over the place, I guessed who was involved pretty early because I mentally simplified the story down. Sort of. I don't want to say anything that would hint towards who the murderer was though, so I won't say any more than that. I think the best aspect to the murder mystery was in how it was resolved - with a very farcical, and entertaining finale where everything is explained.
I wanted to read this because I loved the idea of the characters from My Fair Lady as detectives and overall I think this story delivers very well on that. All of the memorable characters are back and we even get more development with them - especially a surprising revelation about Henry Higgins. I enjoyed this mystery, and will probably pick up the next if there is another mystery novel involving these characters.