Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Undertakers by Nicole Glover
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on November 9, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Nothing bothers Hetty and Benjy Rhodes more than a case where the answers, motives, and the murder itself feel a bit too neat. Raimond Duval, a victim of one of the many fires that have erupted recently in Philadelphia, is officially declared dead after the accident, but Hetty and Benjy’s investigation points to a powerful Fire Company known to let homes in the Black community burn to the ground. Before long, another death breathes new life into the Duval investigation: Raimond’s son, Valentine, is also found dead.
Finding themselves with the dubious honor of taking on Valentine Duval as their first major funeral, it becomes clear that his passing was intentional. Valentine and his father’s deaths are connected, and the recent fires plaguing the city might be more linked to recent community events than Hetty and Benji originally thought.
I really enjoyed The Conductors. I have always loved stories about the Civil War and the Underground Railroad. I would read these books in order as The Undertakers continues the story.
The main character and point of view is Hetty (Henrietta). She and her husband, Benjy, are magic users. They are settled in Philadelphia. She used to be a dressmaker and he, a blacksmith. Now they have opened a funeral home with their friend, Oliver, assisting. But really what they want to do is solve mysteries and murders.
There are plenty of murders happening. I felt a little disjointed both by so many characters, and the flashes of scenes from the past. Eventually, it does all tie together; the murders are related to a family they saved.
The Murder and Magic series has much to offer with its unique point in history, right after the Civil War, and the complex magic systems. I love the relationship of Benjy and Hetty. The two of them love their adventures and solving mysteries and setting things right for others.
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I think the combo of history, fantasy, and mystery sounds great. Glad all those busy things in the beginning came together and made sense after a while.
It’s like most fantasy I guess, except it is more recent historical with an actual time and place which are real.
I didn’t know about this one but maybe. It’s always a bit complicated for me when we have that many characters
Well I never thought about it but fantasy, some mystery and some scifi definitely have a lot more characters than most romance stories.
I enjoyed the Conductors too and missed this release. I guess this will be a library listen. Bummer, it disappointed you.
It’s a good book. It just felt a bit choppy with the number of new characters and the flashbacks.
This sounds like a really interesting series. I sometimes have a hard time keeping a large cast of characters straight but otherwise, it definitely sounds like it would be worth a try!
I think it’s more the characters were mentioned in passing with no development which made them harder to remember. They were in the flashbacks. It’s an interesting blend of historical fiction and fantasy. I always like magic.
Sounds like an interesting historical mystery. I like that there’s a magical element. Fab review, Anne!
Thank you Rachel. I do really enjoy this series. The magic and historical aspects are good layers along with the mysteries.
This sounds like such a great idea for a series and I’m glad to read that you enjoyed the second book, as well. This is one that I do want to read… someday…
It is good. I love the underground railroad part of the Civil war. There’s plenty of danger and excitement. The setting here is just after the war but this couple were conductors and are still dealing with some of the fallout from the war.
So, for some reason I thought this was a YA book, but I guess it is an adult story? Would it be suitable for high school students? It sounds good, but I don’t know if I want to buy this series for my library now that I know it is adult. What would you suggest?
Well I don’t know your rules or criteria. It is a fantasized version of the time during and after the Civil War from a black perspective. There is violence but not sex. I mean most of the books are murder mystery so there are murders. I think it could be read by high school age as it’s less violent than things on tv. The key might be that they understand it is fiction but some of the historical elements are accurate. The magic makes it pretty clear it is fiction.