Powell's is one of my favorite places on earth. Sara Blaedel is one of my favorite authors. Put them together and you have my dream night. Attending author talks and book signings are a struggle for me. I always intend to take copious notes of everything the author says. I usually leave the event with an empty notebook. It is so hard for me to tear myself away from the author to take notes. I do not want to miss a word they say. This event was no exception.
I must first confess how star struck I was when I saw Sara Blaedel. I was so nervous, I had to force myself not to jump up and clap when she entered the room. My nervous feelings were quickly dispelled. Blaedel was warm, welcoming, and quite funny.
This event was a part of Blaedel's book tour celebrating the release of her newest book The Undertaker's Daughter, which I read and reviewed (link to my review is below) last year. I enjoyed The Undertaker's Daughter but I was not prepared for the sharp contrast to Blaedel's previous books. I found myself comparing The Undertaker's Daughter to the Louise Rick series.
Synopsis From Publisher:
Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen. Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: Her father--who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago--has died. And he's left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin.
Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn't heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father's things--hoping for some insight into his new life in America--before preparing the business for a quick sale.
But when she stumbles on an unsolved murder, and a killer who seems to still be very much alive, the undertaker's daughter realizes she might be in over her head . . .
Blaedel knew that many of her readers would compare The Undertaker's Daughter to the Louise Rick series and addressed the comparison at the event. Louise Rick is a detective, her job is to solve crimes. The lead character of the The Undertaker's Daughter, Ilka, is not a detective. However Ilka is none the less surrounded by mystery. Rather than having to solve crimes like Louise Rick, Ilka has to dig deep to uncover mysteries in her relationships with the people in her new setting. For example : after Ilka's father left Denmark, he remarried and started a new family. His new family seems to have no interest in getting to know Ilka, why? And the biggest mystery Ilka must solve is why her father left. The Undertaker's Daughter is a mystery of relationships rather than crime.
While I did not take many notes I did come away from the event with a very interesting fact for fans of the Louise Rick series. Blaedel likes to write about places she is familiar with. So Louise Rick lives in Blaedel's apartment in Denmark. I really enjoyed the event and learning more about Blaedel's writing process and the inspiration behind The Undertaker's Daughter. The Undertaker's Daughter is available for purchase now.