The Wife of ShakyEdit
Elia had apparently been married to her daughters’ father at some point, as she was often referred to as “Mrs. Mahoney”. Her husband’s fate is also unknown. Later in her life, she became the fourth wife of the criminal Shaky. She kept her last name from her earlier marriage, leaving Shaky's last name unclear.
Elia had been introduced to Shaky by Shaky’s sister, an old school friend of Elia’s. Elia and Shaky were married while Breathless was away at school, and Breathless never met her new step-father. It is unknown if Elia ever introduced Shaky to her other daughters. Elia admitted to Breathless that she had known that Shaky had money when she married him, though she did not learn until later that he got it by extortion and blackmail.
After Shaky disappeared and was presumed dead in late 1944, Elia sent her daughter Breathless to attempt to find Shaky’s body. Shaky had put $50,000 cash in a safe deposit box, and Elia knew that he always kept the key sewn into the lining of his left shoe. She directed Breathless to search the area of the waterfront where Shaky had last been seen.
Breathless found Shaky’s body, which brought her into contact with Dick Tracy. She was able to obtain the shoe under the pretense of keeping it as a souvenir, and brought it back to Elia. The pair then went to the bank and obtained the cash from Shaky’s safe deposit box, smuggling it out in Mrs. Mahoney’s knitting bag.
The Fight for Shaky's FortuneEdit
Once they were home, Elia and Breathless discussed how they planned to spend their shares of the money. It was at this point that Elia told Breathless that she would only give her a quarter of the money. Elia believed that, as Shaky’s widow, she was entitled a larger share. Breathless, who had been expecting an even split, voiced her displeasure and the two became suspicious of each other.
Dick Tracy arrived to escort Breathless to Shaky's inquest. Both Elia and Breathless refused the let the money-filled knitting bag out of their sight, so Elia accompanied her daughter and the detective. This, combined with Breathless' earlier odd behavior, aroused Tracy's suspicions. When Tracy learned that Mrs. Mahoney had been Shaky's wife, he decided to monitor the Mahoney home.
Upon returning from the inquest, Elia and Breathless engaged in a competition to see who could remain awake longer, so as not to give the other a chance to leave with the money. Neither woman slept for three days. Elia took stay-awake pills to help her remain alert, but she eventually took too many and she suffered chest pains. Believing she was having a heart attack, Elia collapsed. Breathless saw her opportunity and began to leave with the money. Elia managed to get to her nightstand where she kept a handgun and shot Breathless in the arm as the younger woman taunted her mother. The shot attracted the attention of nearby police officers who rushed to the apartment as Breathless fled out the back. Tracy also arrived on the scene after finding Shaky's shoe in the trash which had an imprint of strong box keys on the inside.
Elia claimed that she had shot at a prowler, and was taken into custody where she received medical attention. She was apparently not charged with any crime.
Breathless went on an extended adventure with her ill-gotten money, ultimately being strangled and left for dead by B.O. Plenty. She survived and was arrested for the several crimes that she had committed during her time as a fugitive.
Alignment with ItchyEdit
Elia Mahoney was seized by guilt and remorse for her actions, and sought an opportunity to go straight. She contacted an old friend of hers (and Shaky's) named Itchy Oliver. Elia apparently did not know that Itchy was a criminal as well.
By coincidence, B.O. Plenty had arrived in the city with what remained of the $50,000. Itchy was made aware of B.O.'s situation and saw the opportunity to obtain the money for himself. He enlisted Elia to befriend B.O. and lure him into a trap. Elia agreed, partially motivated by a desire to punish B.O. for wronging her daughter.
B.O. had hidden the money in his hotel room and, after being tortured, revealed its location to Itchy. Itchy and Elia went to the hotel room where they encountered Dick Tracy and Pat Patton, who had been following their own leads. Itchy pulled his gun on the detectives and demanded that they hand over the money, which was hidden inside a kewpie doll. Tracy tossed the doll to Itchy and was able to dodge Itchy's gunshot. Before Itchy could fire again, Elia realized that he had once again sunk into her criminal ways. Filled with remorse, who wanted to protect the police officer by putting herself between Itchy's gun and Tracy. Itchy fired again, shooting Elia in the chest before fleeing with the money. She died instantly.
Elia Mahoney's LegacyEdit
Breathless later died of an illness while in prison. Shaky’s $50,000 was destroyed during Itchy’s attempt to escape capture by police. Itchy himself was eventually shot to death after torturing Dick Tracy. B.O. Plenty reformed, and was forgiven by Breathless before she died.
Elia’s daughter Heartless crossed paths with Dick Tracy several times. The third Mahoney daughter did not turn to a life of crime, but her son (Elia’s grandson) developed a drug addiction and later died of an overdose and her daughter Restless (Elia’s granddaughter) became a juvenile delinquent who encountered Dick Tracy.
- The safe deposit box that held Shaky's money was in Elia's name, and she was recognized as being the box holder by the clerk when she and Breathless went to collect the money. Breathless asked her mother why she did not just tell the bank that she had lost the key and request a replacement, rather than waiting for Shaky's body to be found and recovering the key from it using subterfuge. Elia explained that Shaky had threatened to implicate her in all of his crimes if she accessed the safe deposit without him. However, this does not explain why Breathless' suggestion would not have worked once Shaky's death had been confirmed.