Move Your Blooming Corpse
An Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery, book #2
By D. E. Ireland
Author’s website: www.deireland.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins are at the posh Royal Ascot, the biggest horse racing event of the season. Eliza’s father is the new co-owner of a champion racehorse, and Eliza and Henry are excited to cheer the Donegal Dancer on to victory. However, their idyllic outing takes a serious turn when a victim is trampled during the Gold Cup race and someone is found murdered in the stables.
With time running out before the upcoming Eclipse Stakes, she and Higgins investigate jealous spouses, suffragettes and the colorful co-owners of the Donegal Dancer. But can they outrace the murderer, or will there be another blooming corpse at the finish line?
Set in the glamorous world of horseracing during the Edwardian Era, Move Your Blooming Corpse takes place shortly after Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, the first book in the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery series. Eliza’s father, who is celebrating his greatly improved financial situation and social status, has become partial owner of the racehorse Donegal Dancer. While everyone is assembled at the race track, a strange man rushes out in the path of the horses and is trampled. Shortly after the race, Diana Price, an actress/singer who also owns a share of the horse, is found in one of the stable stalls stabbed with a pitch fork. It is initially thought that the trampled gentleman is the murderous perpetrator and Higgins feels partially responsible, thinking he should have done something to prevent the tragedies, and sets out to investigate. Does it all have to do with a love affair gone badly? A jealous husband or wife? The suffrage movement gone too far? When another partial owner of Donegal Dancer also meets his end, it becomes clear that there is more going on than meets the eye. Eliza and Higgins follow the clues to solve the murders, hopefully before the other horse owners meet their end, too.
The writing duo that makes up D. E. Ireland do a fantastic job of continuing with characters created by George Bernard Shaw’s in his play Pygmalion and made so popular in the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. They have made Eliza and Professor Higgins their own and infuse them with continued character growth and Edwardian splendor brought to life. Though light-hearted at times, Move Your Blooming Corpse has a complex plot that evolves with each revelation and twist and turn. It moves at a quick pace with action from the first page to the last. I chuckled aloud more than once. It has a cozy mystery feel, but it is also a well researched historical reminiscent of classic British mysteries. I was transported to the early twentieth century via the story’s vivid descriptions of period detail and social niceties. Oh, to go shopping with Eliza for a day!
Move Your Blooming Corpse is delightful, a smart tale with effervescent characters. It deftly combines the alluring and sometimes dark world of horseracing, greed, blackmail, adultery, murder, kidnapping, and smuggling against the backdrop of the suffrage movement resulting in a unique contribution to the cozy and historical mystery genres. I highly recommend this richly entertaining sophomore entry in the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery series to fans of Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, the Edwardian time period, and those looking for an intelligent yet lighthearted mystery.