After a student choir’s practice session at a Helsinki villa turns deadly, Detective Maria Kallio finds herself in the middle of the action - and her first murder case. Someone in the group wanted playboy Tommi Peltonen dead, but that’s one song these suspects refuse to sing. Behind the choir’s jovial facade lies bitter passion, and the victim’s seemingly perfect life hid a host of sins that made him a target of almost everyone in the villa.
As a young female - and a redhead to boot - Maria knows that solving this case will help her overcome her perceived shortcoming in the eyes of her colleagues. But as the case takes startling twists and turns, and friends and foes become interchangeable, will she be able to piece together the clues before the killer strikes again?
©2012 Leena Lehtolainen (P)2012 Brilliance Audio
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
Maria Kallio is a young sergeant in the Serious Crime Unit in Helsinki, Finland. The book was first published in 1993 so if it seems socially a bit off that is probably the reason. Maria is trying to decide her career path. She is divided between the police work she originally considered her goal-- she naively wanted to help both victims and criminals-- and an interest in practicing law, the current goal of her education. When the book opens she is engaged in a six month temporary assignment with the police
Her immediate supervisor is hors de combat due to his alcoholism. Her coworker is about to go on vacation and has made it clear that nothing is going to stand between him and his vacation, least of all a newly reported body found floating beside a dock connected to a summer villa. At first it seems the death might be the cause of an accident. Then it becomes Maria's first murder.
This is a procedural not an action packed adventure. Maria interviews all of the potential suspects and witnesses as she looks deeper into the case. There's connections within connections as it seems that everyone is somehow involved in more than one way with everyone else.
The narrator is quite authoritative when it comes to the names-- Finnish is not a language that people in the US tend to be familiar with by ear so hearing the names is quite helpful. Also most of the main characters have short first names which helps with keeping them straight.
All of the Finns I have met tend to be avid readers and when speaking English rarely use colloquialisms. I think that the dialogue in the book which is described as "wooden" by at least one reviewer is an accurate translation. It's one of those cases I guess where the translator must choose a between accuracy and accessibility in another language. I don't think choosing accuracy was a mistake.
So if you are thinking about listening to this book you might want to try a sample first.
I'm very pleased that AmazonCrossing and Brilliance Audio are making these translated works available to a wider audience.
I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)
This book is a bit slow-placed (almost like a British Cozy set in Finland) and I didn't find the choir characters very engaging. Also, the protagonist, new detective Maria Kallio, is a bit whiny. The setting is 1993 Finland and I had hoped for a bit more "flavor" in the story from the background. However, this was still an interesting book for anyone who is fond of mysteries and isn't looking for the dark, sometimes gory, novels we have come to expect from Scandinavia.
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