Series: Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins #2
Source: the author/pr firm/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: September 22, 2015
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Blurb from goodreads:
In the second book from talented writing team D.E. Ireland, famous literary characters Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins once again come to life as a hilarious investigative team. Move Your Blooming Corpse explores the Edwardian racing world and the fascinating characters who people it, from jockeys to duchesses, in this delightful traditional mystery that will appeal to fans of British mysteries.
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?
I read several reviews of the first book in this series and was intrigued but also hesitant. Taking characters from a play and movie and putting them into a new genre? I was curious. When this book became available, I snapped it up. It's been years since I saw the movie so I am vague on some details which was probably a good thing as it meant I was less fussy about accuracy.
Eliza struck me as flightier and shallower than I recall but my memory could be faulty. She has a caring heart though and despite her occasional flightiness she is practical and has a good head on her shoulders. Henry is still his cantankerous, snobby self and felt true to my memory of him.
The fact the horse racing was at the center of the book appealed to me as I enjoy the combination of mysteries and horse racing. That said, there was one small detail that bothered me and took me out of the story every time. The central race horse, Donegal Dancer, is consistently referred to as 'the Donegal Dancer', even in the book's blurb. If it were written as The Donegal Dancer I'd have assumed that was his name. However, none of the other horses were referred to with 'the' before their names so perhaps it was a copy editing issue? I just know it was distracting and annoying. But, it's a small detail that probably won't bother most readers.
The mystery itself kept me guessing. I had the killer on my suspect list, then took them off, then added them back, right before the authors revealed who the killer was. Henry and Eliza were effective as sleuths though I have a hard time seeing them in that role. I really need to not compare to the movie. Henry initially gets involved because he feels that he inadvertently contributed to the first murder. Eliza is slower to get involved but as attacks and murders continue and she becomes worried about her father, she jumps in. Slowly, working together and separately, they put the pieces together. There's also a related subplot concerning the suffragette movement which was interesting and the authors smoothly worked it in to the main story.
The side characters were quirky, the humor was light and enjoyable, and the period details felt real. "Move Your Blooming Corpse" wasn't great but it was good; the mystery was well-done and the story engaged me.