Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Undertaker's Daughter - Sara Blaedel

Sara Blaedel has been called Denmark's 'Queen of Crime'. I've enjoyed her Louise Rick mysteries. Blaedel herself has moved to the US, and her newest novel mirrors that move.

In The Undertaker's Daughter, Dane Ilka Jensen inherits a funeral home from the father she hasn't seen in over thirty years. It's in Wisconsin, but she decides to travel to the US - perhaps she will learn more about her long absent father.

The book is set in and around the funeral home and funeral practices. This was a decidedly different setting, one that opens up lots of possible avenues for plotting. I was initially drawn to Ilka as she arrived in Wisconsin, but that changed a few chapters in. I allowed for cultural shock, but viewed her  thoughts, actions and reactions odd in many situations. The two employees of the funeral home treat her badly and chastise her for not immediately jumping in and conducting business right away. She does, and I found it a bit of a stretch. The same with her non-reaction to their attitudes. I can't believe that the funeral business in Racine would operate in the manner depicted, but hey, who knows. Ilka discovers Tinder and finds some sexual outlets, but I found this part of her character felt forced and I never really bought it.

There is a murder of course, but I found it weak as was the investigation into it. Every supporting character seems quite enigmatic and I found the non-answers grew tiresome after awhile.

I had not realized that this was the first book in a planned series and found the ending rather abrupt and unsatisfying. It literally ends with the words..."To be continued." I'm not sure if this was written in Danish and then translated? It just didn't flow and felt very awkward, both in language and plotting. Sad to say, but this one was just okay for me. Read an excerpt of The Undertaker's Daughter.


Kay said...

Yes, your 'just OK' reaction is not the first I've heard about this book. I think I'll pass on it. There are too many books that I'm more enthusiastic about.

Icewineanne said...

Excellent review Luanne. Thanks for the heads up. I have her first book still waiting in my overflowing book pile. I’m looking forward to that one because of all of the glowing reviews but this new one, i will definitely skip.
Hope your next book is much more enjoyable :)

Mystica said...

I think it could be the translation. I had a similar problem with a book written by an Icelandic author. It was very abrupt as well.

Luanne said...

Kay, I see that now as I just posted my review to Goodreads. Glad it wasn't just me.

Icewineanne, I really enjoyed her previous books, so was very surprised at this one being so choppy and unbelievable.

Mystica you are right - translations are very choppy sometimes.