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Thursday Quotables – Get Me to the Grave on Time

Cover of the novel "Get Me to the Grave On Time (An Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery #3) by D.E. Ireland". The cover is mostly blue, with a white 1920s motorcar in the lower part, with a newly married couple in it (the veil bellows behind the car). Cosy mystery set in London.

Beyond the shade garden, the church graveyard stone crosses and headstones marched in straight rows. A man and woman stood there in conversation.

“I believe that’s the groom.” Having met Ambrose Farrow several times, Eliza recognized his dark blond hair and mustache. “But I don’t know who the woman is.”

“Her name is Pearl Palmer.” Mrs. Higgins’s voice had grown chilly.

“Sounds like a strange name,” Higgins said. “Is she an actress?”

Eliza, who loved to spend her free time at the cinema and music hall, failed to recall seeing that name on any theatre program. “I’ve never heard of her.”

His mother narrowed her eyes at the couple, who seemed to be engaged in a heated discussion. Both of them were waving their arms about. “She’s a mannequin.”

Pickering chuckled. “She looks alive to me.”

“A mannequin models clothes at the more expensive salons,” Eliza explained.

“Miss Palmer is far more than that,” Mrs. Higgins said. “She is Ambrose Farrow’s mistress.”

“What?” Eliza, Higgins and Pickering all explained at the same time.

“Keep your voices down,” the old woman said in warning. “If you wish to watch people unobserved, the first requirement is to avoid being noticed.”

“Ma’am, how did you learned Mr. Farrow has a mistress?” Eliza whispered.

“After Minerva became engaged,, I made a few discreet inquiries. And too many people said the same thing. Ambrose Farrow and Pearl Palmer are lover.”

“Does the Duchess know?” Pickering asked Mrs. Higgins.

“Minerva is a woman of the world. It would not surprise me if she knew.”

“And she’d still marry him?” Eliza wasn’t a woman of the world and found this shocking.

Thursday Quotables Meme

Get Me to the Grave on Time is a cosy mystery by D.E. Ireland, set in London in the 1910s and inspired by the play My Fair Lady. The main characters are in fact the same of the play, which I found a nice idea… thought I can’t say anything about the ‘translation’ since I’ve never seen the play.

I really like the setting, it’s quite vivid and it sounds accurate, if a bit too much upper-class for me. The authors spend a great deal of time describing all the wonderful things these characters have access to, especially considering that most of them are very rich and often nobles. But apart from this (which is totally just me), the cast of characters is very nice. Everybody is likable – expect the ones you’re not supposed to like – and I really enjoyed the dialogues – fresh, natural and witty -which I find to be the authors’  strong spot. The banters between characters is the element that I enjoyed the most.

The mystery, instead, was quite disappointing. Yes, it is exciting while reading because something is happening all the time, but once the story ceases relying on action and must come to explanations… well, things fall apart quite apparently.
First, events become not as logical as they should be, and I felt this happened because the authors needed to force a few elements into the plot so to move it the direction they needed. There are a couple of chapters clearly falling into this categry. Secondly, the characters’ reasons – and I mean the reasons of the characters who act the mystery – are never very clear. I found the murder’s reasons particularly lame, certainly not strong enough to push a person to kill another person… let alone more than one.

This gave me the impression that while the authors are very comfortable telling about the cosy side of the story, when they come to the mystery side they proceed more haltingly. And because the murder’s reason aren’t strong enough, it’s quite difficult to follow the way the sleuth discovers the culprit, even when they come to the explanation. Personally, after the array of red herrings, I felt Eliza found the culprit more by chance than by deduction.
Quite a shame, because this is a very enjoyable read, with great characters and a rich setting. The mystery just wasn’t satisfying enough for me.

In post is part of the Thursday Quotables mem. If you want to discover more about this meme and maybe take part in it, head over to Bookshelf Fantasies

Pinteret pin. The text reads, "Get me to the grave on time (D.E. Ireland)". The black-and-white picture shows a young woman in a 1910s elegant dress and a feather in her hair, touching her forehead with a head while leaning on a couch.
GET ME TO THE GRAVE ON TIME (D.E. Ireland) - Four wedding, murders, a curse treasure from India... Eliza has more than she hope for in this 1913 Summer (book review)


  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 21:12

    Thanks for your thoughtful review. It sounds like a terrific setting and context. I do agree, though, that it’s important that the mystery itself make sense and be credible. That’s not always easy to pull off, but it’s always important, I think.

    • Post Author
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:37

      Historical mysteries are probably among the hardest genres to write. They put together two very demanding genres – mystery and historical. It is indeed not easy to pull it off.

  • Teagan R Geneviene
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 15:09

    Sarah, you made the book sound terrific. That’s a fabulous snippet, and the title is a total hook. I certainly hope to read this one soon. Mega hugs.

    • Post Author
      Posted January 16, 2017 at 14:53

      It’s a fast, easy read. And yes, the dialogue is just fantastic.

  • Kathryn
    Posted January 15, 2017 at 07:05

    This book seems to have a lot going for it and the characters, setting and dialogue all sound wonderful. Pity the mystery just didn’t add up. Perhaps the author would be better off writing another genre.

    • Post Author
      Posted January 16, 2017 at 14:55

      I think mystery is one of the hardest genre to write. It requires the author’s specific inclination for it, I don’t think research is enough to get it right.
      I do think the historical part was a lot better and more evocative than the mystery part.

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