Undertaker's Daughter
by Blaedel, Sara; Kline, Mark (TRN)

Receiving an unexpected inheritance from the father who abandoned her, forty-year-old widow Ilka Nichols Jenson impulsively travels from Copenhagen to her late father's mortuary in Wisconsin and begins to comb through his estate before stumbling on an unsolved murder.

Sara Blaedel is the author of the #1 international bestselling series featuring Detective Louise Rick. Her books are published in thirty-seven countries. In 2014 Sara was voted Denmark's most popular novelist for the fourth time. She is also a recipient of the Golden Laurel, Denmark's most prestigious literary award. She lives in New York City.

Ilka Jensen travels from Copenhagen to Racine, Wisconsin, to settle her estranged father's estate and satisfy her curiosity about his American life. In a disappointing turn, Ilka inherits her father's funeral home along with its crippling mountain of debt. Determined to keep the business afloat until it sells, Ilka dives in, handling mortuary pickups and proving surprisingly competent at planning funerals. It's going pretty well until their latest pro bono burial revives a notorious cold case. Mike Gilbert, the deceased, had fled Racine after becoming a suspect in his girlfriend's murder. When Gilbert's body is abused during a bizarre break-in at the funeral home, police discover that the matriarch of a rival funeral home had paid Gilbert to leave town.If Gilbert was guilty, why would Phyllis Oldham pay him to flee? And why did he return? Resourceful Ilka is positioned perfectly for the mystery to unravel around her. This series debut has a lighter, cozier touch than the author's award-winning Louise Rick procedural series, set in Denmark; fortunately, Blaedel's astute storytelling also works outside the Nordic gloom. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

A Danish woman desperate to find out more about her father's past receives an unexpected inheritance in Blaedel's (The Killing Forest, 2017, etc.) mystery.When Ilka's long-estranged father dies, she leaves Denmark for Racine, Wisconsin, where he lived. She assumes that this is her last opportunity to find answers about why he left her and her mother when she was only 7 years old. Her memories are mostly a confused jumble of times at the racetrack, for her father loved horses and gambling. In Racine, surprises await: her father has left her his business—a funeral home—and he has left that business in crushing debt. Ilka has only a few days to decide whether she wants to do the logical thing and sell the business to another local mortuary or do the seemingly crazy thing and try to keep the place running. Her only support comes from Artie, the reconstruction artist, and Sister Eileen, a grumpy nun, both of whom seem to oppose the sale to the Golden Slumbers Funeral H ome. And then there are the mysterious break-ins and body desecrations directed toward a dead man with a checkered past. The murder of a young woman 12 years ago still haunts Racine's collective memory, and it's possible that Ilka has walked right into danger. The premise of this novel is undeniably intriguing, and Ilka's physical and emotional awkwardness make her a likable character. But the writing is somewhat bland, and the mystery is not particularly well-developed. Part of this issue may stem from Kline's translation. Ilka's baffled musings on the American business of death interestingly emphasize flaws in the system from a European viewpoint, but the novel chiefly exists to entertain. The appealing weirdness of the setting does little to build effective atmosphere. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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