“The Undertaker’s Daughter” by Sara Blaedel is the first in the new “Ilka” series. Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer in Copenhagen, leads an unassertive, well-organized, and uneventful life until she receives shocking news. Her absentee father has died and left her his funeral home in Racine, Wisconsin. Not only does she know nothing about running a funeral home, she has never been to The United States. Of course, one of the “customers” turns out to be part of a criminal investigation.
The book is character driven and chronicles Ilka’s struggle with the business, her mysterious father’s past, and her own personal demons. Background information about the characters was scattered throughout the book, but because they all were new, it took a while to get to know them.
Although this first book was a little slow moving, almost plodding a times, the series has a lot of potential. The inherited funeral home is the perfect setting for both humor and mystery, as in the TV show “Six Feet Under”, and since this is a series, there are sure to be many more traumatic deaths in store for Ilka as she grows into a more complex amateur detective.
This was not the typical Blaedel suspense thriller or police procedural; there was some suspense, but not nail-biting drama. It was interesting, and the cliffhanger ending hints that there is much more to come.
I received a copy of “The Undertaker’s Daughter” from Sara Blaedel, Hachette Book Group, Grand Central Publishing, and NetGalley. The book was quick and easy to read, and it should develop into an enjoyable series.