A mystery novel without much of a mystery and where the murder is solved by very secondary characters makes for a strange read. The Undertaker's Daughter by Danish crime writer Sara Blaedel is a strange read indeed. Fans of her Detective Louise Ricks series will probably find this odd duck of a book interesting. I would not recommend it as an introduction to this writer.
Ilka Nichols lives an uneventful life in Copenhagen until she learns her long estranged father now established in Racine, Wisconsin has left her a funeral home. When she arrives to settle the estate, she has no intention of taking over the business. Because, as Ilka often notes, she allows events to happen to her, she passively becomes the owner of the funeral home and must learn the trade.
Soon after she arrives the body of Mike Gilbert is found savagely beaten. Gilbert ran away from town some twenty years ago after his girlfriend died in semi-mysterious circumstances that were settled as an accidental drowning. The murder of Mike Gilbert has little to do with this novel except as an excuse to call it a mystery or thriller.
Ilka eventually learns the ropes of running a funeral home. The murder is solved by someone else through a very passive scene.
If the last line of The Undertaker's Daughter is to be believed, Ilka will continue to run the funeral home and have further adventures.
Sara Blaedel writes well and this supposed mystery novel is well-translated. That is about as far as any criticism goes.
Other Sara Blaedel Reviews
The Killing Forest: Having taken time to recover from a traumatic event, Louise Rick returns to the National Police to lead the Special Search Agency dealing with missing persons and criminal activity. She is assigned to investigate the disappearance of Sune, a 15 year-old boy believed to be in distress about the impending loss of his terminally ill mother.