My First Murder

My First Murder

Book - 2012
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Maria Kallio has just been assigned her first murder investigation. To prove to herself and her squad that she has what it takes to be a detective, she'll have to solve the death of Tommi Peltonen. Found floating facedown at the water's edge of his Helsinki villa, Tommi had invited his choir group to spend a weekend at his retreat. But beneath the choir's seemingly tight-knit bonds seethed bitter passion and jealousy. As Maria sets out to determine the difference between friends and foes, she uncovers the victim's unsavory past - and motives for all seven suspects. Now it's up to her to untangle a complex set of clues before the killer strikes again.
Publisher: Las Vegas, NV : AmazonCrossing, 2012
ISBN: 9781612184371
1612184375
Branch Call Number: M LEHTOLA LEENA
Characteristics: 242 p. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Witesman, Owen

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sarahknits
Apr 18, 2016

The first mystery featuring Maria Kallio, law student/police officer, told in the first person in a moderately paced, enjoyable mystery.

I picked this book up because I wanted to read a Finnish work of fiction and enjoy crime stories. I've read Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo who are other Scandinavian crime writers. Lehtolainen's work is not so much a thriller but a methodical character study the results in a revelation over time.

Perhaps I'm in the minority but I find some mysteries that put the main character in unbelievable peril through unprofessional decisions to be somewhat exhausting and implausible. Lehtolainen's main character often has to set aside the main investigation to take other police reports and work other cases. She has to interact with superiors, co-workers, criminals and victims with their own varying levels of competence and personality. And through it all, you hear her inner monologue questioning her professional and person decisions in a realistic way. The denouement is reached in due time and even pokes fun at a particular crime narrative cliche the reader may start to suspect but is happily avoided. To be more specific would result in spoilers.

Also note, the English version was published in 2012 but the actual novel was written in 1993. There is very little in the narrative to place it earlier except for references to sexism in the police force that have (hopefully) improved but were probably still a talking point for a female lead character in a traditionally male field at that time. It may seem a bit old hat for more recent readers but I found it not overdone in the context.

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