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Wouldn't It Be Deadly: An Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery    by D. E. Ireland order for
Wouldn't It Be Deadly
by D. E. Ireland
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

What fun! Did you ever wonder what happened to Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins at the end of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion or the movie My Fair Lady? A Michigan author duo (writing as D.E. Ireland) turns these two strong characters into sleuths in Wouldn't It Be Deadly.

In this imagined aftermath, Eliza (still courted by Freddy) used the phonetics and linguistics skills she absorbed from Henry Higgins to find work as an assistant instructor - with Higgins' rival, Maestro Emil Nepommuck (the very one who declared her Hungarian royalty at the Embassy Ball!) Nepommuck went on to claim credit for Eliza's transformation from Cockney flower girl to lady - which garnered him many more students.

As Wouldn't It Be Deadly opens, Higgins has just returned from a trip to Spain with Colonel Pickering. When he discovers that he's losing students to Nepommuck and hears what the Hungarian has claimed, he's furious and makes it clear to all and sundry. So Henry is naturally the prime suspect when the Maestro is murdered, especially when he has no alibi (or at least none that he will disclose).

Despite their antagonism, Eliza has no desire to see her old mentor jailed for murder. So she starts digging, dragging Henry Higgins along in her wake. And she has an advantage - her cousin Jack Shaw turns out to be the detective inspector in charge of the investigation. There are plenty of suspects, including most of the Maestro's language students - and another murder - so they are all kept busy.

It's a cute cozy, but I have to admit that I enjoyed it more for the My Fair Lady references than the mystery. It's great fun to re-enter Eliza's world and to see her relationship with Henry Higgins evolve. Just you wait!

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