Ilka is living uneventfully in Copenhagen when she learns to her surprise that her estranged father has died and left her a funeral home in Racine, Wisconsin. Against her mother’s advice, she goes to Wisconsin hoping to make sense of the situation and gain some insight into the man who abandoned the family when she was very young. However …while she’s preparing the business for sale, the funeral home accepts the body of a homeless man with a notorious history in the town, and when someone tries to steal him, Ilka quickly learns that things are not quite what they seem. Meanwhile her staff is less than forthcoming with information, and her father’s second family is less than welcoming. This was an interesting story, not entirely a traditional mystery but with several of the genre’s elements. Since it ends with a cliff hanger, I’m somewhat compelled to read the sequel. Read 9-11 April.
23. The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton
Ice Road Truckers meets Criminal Minds in this improbable but engaging thriller set in Alaska. A British woman travels with her deaf daughter to Fairbanks in late November to meet up with her husband, but upon arrival at the airport she’s told her husband died in a fire that killed everyone in the remote village where he was working on a photography shoot. She doesn’t believe the story and sets off on an adventure into the wilderness to uncover the truth. But they’re not alone… The daughter is an especially compelling character, and the mother grows on me as the story progresses. There are lovely turns of phrase as well as vivid descriptions of snow, dark, and cold. I enjoyed this but found the ending to be a bit unsatisfying. Read 17-19 April.