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The Undertaker's Widow

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,301 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
In this legal thriller, a young judge in Portland, Oregon, struggles to save his marriage and his career after he becomes personally involved in the murder case he's adjudicating. The judge, Richard Quinn, is a deeply principled man who has proven himself an honorable and fair-minded public servant. When an extremely wealthy undertaker is murdered in his mansion in the Wes ...more
Published (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,243)
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Jan 29, 2010 Jenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-books-list
Well I don't know why this book was on my "Read" bookcase...because I just finished it and I KNOW that I haven't read this before.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable thriller as thrillers go. Judge Richard Quinn is a very solid, upstanding, and honest judge who is faced with some incredibly hard choices as he is given a high profile murder case. He makes for a good lead character and one that you do root for as he tries to balance upholding the law with some unexpected personal upheavals.

It's important
Oct 10, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually a murder mystery reader, so don't have a lot of knowledge to compare this novel to others in this genre. It does a nice job of keeping you guessing to the very end, which of three different options would finally pan out as the real killer.

This book may be called The Undertaker's Widow, but it is really more about what happens to the judge Richard Quinn, than it does to Ellen Crease, the probable victim.
Michael Sova
Jun 18, 2015 Michael Sova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judge Richard Quinn ascended to the bench at a fairly young age and has spent his career following in his father's cherished footsteps and trying to live up to his own strong moral code. His marriage to an ambitious attorney has hit a bit of a rough patch and, instead of a romantic island getaway, Quinn ends up traveling alone. He meets a beautiful woman on the plane and makes plans to meet her the next day. Quinn tells himself he's interested in nothing more than companionship but things get a ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book and like the author, in general. Picked this up at a yard sale just to have a disposable read while on vacation. Saw that the story was published in 1998 and hoped I hadn't read it previously. It was a great book. It had a handful of characters that were key but several others that came and went. I usually can spot the criminal fairly early on, but changed my mind several times with this story and was actually surprised at the end. It was an easy read, but one that captured me. ...more
Mar 29, 2010 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story in the mode of John Grishim. Takes place in Portland, OR and includes homocides, double crosses and who-dunnit with a lot of twists and turns. Light reading and not very deep but still interesting.
Mar 23, 2015 William rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: law, paperback
A decent enough mystery surrounding the double murder of a well to do undertaker and the man who killed him by the undertaker's wife. Judge Richard Quinn has the case land in his courtroom, and immediately he feels pressure from outside forces as the widow, in trouble for the second death which doesn't appear to be as clean cut a case of self defense as it should, is also running for State Senate. There are those who would love to see her go down for the crime, while others want to get her off t ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Rita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first for this author and I really liked it. There are a lot of characters but they are well developed. The author nails it with good, real, people speak! I hate crappy, shallow, unrealistic dialogue! The plot is twisty and very involved. The only thing that bugged me was a difficulty keeping characters straight but it may have been me and not the author. Otherwise a good read!
James Fitzgerald
this book was a disappointment. you would have to have no knowledge of police procedure for example policeman takes a suspect to a murder scene and ask the room clerk if he saw this man the previous evening. then he takes him to the room where the victim is I cannot believe philip margolin who usually has me entertained could have written this. Don't waste your time
Linda Fast
The Undertakers Widow was an ok read but there were too many people involved in the murders and deceipts. I found myself going back and rereading to get everyone straight.
Ellen Crease shoots an house intruder who has murdered her very wealthy husband Lamar in an apparent robbery attempt. Crease is an ex cop who is running for the Oregon Senate and after the intruder is identified with a large amount of money located in his residence allegations begin to surface.
Who was behind the murder? Was it
Jan 31, 2015 Ricardo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Put your thinking cap aside so that you do not get distracted by all errors in logic and the things that just don't make sense. The book is an entertaining quick read but definitely nothing memorable.
Jun 04, 2013 Colette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Phillip Margolin writes some really good books! I will admit that this one took me a few chapters to get into but then the twists and turns started. A conscience judge presides over the trial of a woman running for senate that has been accused of killing her husband and an intruder. He is dealing with his marriage on the rocks and a separate vacation/business trip that doesn't turn out to be what they expected. The lives of the two people running for senate and their respective supporters vs eac
Jul 05, 2015 Robyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really good read

This book had you going every which way. About the time you thought you had it figured out the whole program changed. Loved the ending.
Russty Thaggard
May 06, 2016 Russty Thaggard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful story, twists, turns, and surprise ending... But in between the writing wasn't as sharp as in other books of his that I've read. Thus, the reading between the high points in the plot were a little plodding, but not so much that I ever considered putting it down...

This was one of his earlier submissions, so there may lie the cause of some of the "plodding"... Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to the next of his I have lined up to read.
Jun 24, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Have enjoyed this author in the past. Starting out with a murder in which the intended victim may have killed the shooter when her husband was shot. (not sure yet) Tension and mystery right to the end. Keeps you guessing.
Julie Mcallister
If i just want a mystery to distract me, I often just pick up a Phillip Margolin from the library. Local Portland lawyer.
Michael Harrington
Another good read by Margolin. He is very consistent. He writes well--not over the top, with too many turns and endings.
Jan 09, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not the most finely crafted novel I have ever read but it is one who's plot I hope I forget soon so I can read it again. Sometimes you just need the kind of book where you step into the first chapter and step out the last page and just enjoy it. That's this one. Judge Richard Quinn is working his way up the judicial ladder but he's still a man - pretty flawed as it turns out and not able to pick up on the big clues, but you like him. The philandering husband of a local husband is murdere ...more
Raymond Shields
Sep 01, 2014 Raymond Shields rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read this year by far! This one keeps you guessing until the final pages and very poignantly puts the following adage to tale: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer".
Tony Primm
Jun 09, 2015 Tony Primm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good character development and always kept you in doubt about who the real murderer might be. I have enjoyed reading some of the older books by Phillip Margolin.
Rob Hood
Nov 21, 2015 Rob Hood rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What happened Phillip? I've read a number of books where the end was unexpected, but logical. This ending was totally illogical!
Barbara Nutting
Aug 07, 2015 Barbara Nutting rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really "whodunit" right up to the last page - he is a consistently good author
May 01, 2016 Heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
very good..Margolin's books are hard to put down.
Apr 21, 2016 Sherry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of his best, I usually LOVE his books.
Oct 05, 2014 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good read, didn't want to put it down
In Phillip Margolin's The Undertaker's Widow, he wrote us another gripping tale of dirty politics in the courtroom. For Richard Quinn, an ethical judge who would risk his own life to seek justice. But when it was Ellen Crease, a former police officer and now a state senator, who now stood accused on conspiracy to commit murder against her husband, a wealthy funeral parlor tycoon. Richard Quinn now believed she set things up, when he began to investigate and zeroes in on her deadly secret, it lea ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put it down! Great author!
Sep 06, 2015 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
good twist at the end
Feb 20, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-author, 1998
Cassettes in 1998.
Joyce McKune
Feb 19, 2015 Joyce McKune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
Plot had more twists than a bowl of noodles.
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