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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Sires
  • Chesapeake, OH, United States
  • 01-11-13

First Published 1993 So Expect Some Social Change


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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 12-06-16

Series off to a weak start

My First Murder is Book 1 of the 6 book Maria Kallio audio series. I listened to and reviewed the other five books first. This is by far the weakest novel in this wonderful modern detective suspense thriller series. Some have complained about the narration of Amy Rubinate; I disagree!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracey
  • Danville, AR, United States
  • 01-06-13

Could this be a Scandinavian Cozy?

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Writing is stiff.

Would you try another book from Leena Lehtolainen and/or Amy Rubinate?

No

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The premise of the story was interesting. The characters, dialog, and narration would easily be written by a High School student.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Amy Rubinate?

Elisabeth Rodgers, Michele Moran, Susan Bennett, and many more.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No

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  • Ka
  • FREMONT, CA, US
  • 11-04-17

translation

the translation of names and places was horrible. Finnish names are not difficult to pronounce. Just a little bit of research by the reader would have made this book much more enjoyable. Hearing the mispronounced names made me grindge every time. Even Maria.... Please.

  • Overall
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  • Story

A rookie investigator may be in over her head.

Everything about Maria Kallio is tentative: She has yet to finish a degree she's not sure she wants. She has a place to live only because her relatives let her stay there while the apartment market is down. She has a job with the police, but it's terrible - and temporary. She doesn't much care for it, except as a livelihood, and she seems not particularly good at it: She is socially awkward, and gets too emotionally involved. But it's just a job, and not a great one, at that, so all she has to do is keep her head down, not screw up, and she'll be out of there soon enough. Then she gets reluctantly put in charge of a major case. Can she actually see this one thing through to the end?

This is a very brief first novel in a series about Maria Kallio. I liked the way the main character's "awkward age" is portrayed against a cast of suspects at a similar stage in life. The simple drudgery and distractions of police work are also described well, and played off against the crime-solving and "character" aspects of the story in an effective manner.

The narrator has a lovely voice and her delivery is very well-suited to the character.

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Middle school intrigues and romance, masquerading as a murder mystery.

I hoped it would get better, but it didn't. Juvenile to the end. Not worth 15 words.

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Decent story, disappointing performance

I enjoyed the novel as a first venture. Interesting story line and good character development. The reader is very disappointing, seems to be trying for soap opera-like excitement with a breathy voice that has no range. I won't choose audible if sge is the reader of the next book.

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Good story; odd narration <br /><br /><br />

I enjoyed the story, but I plan to avoid any other books by this narrator

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Eh.

I really don't think the book would have been too bad if it were a different narrator. I didn't feel like the narrator made any of the character voices different from the main character, so it was really hard to tell when another character was talking until she was over a sentence in, and then it was just confusing. The end of the book felt kind of rushed and all over the place while the beginning and middle dragged on. Best way for me to describe it is, "Meh."

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  • Jaye
  • 10-12-16

Slightly disappointing

I liked the idea of the book, but the characters left me a bit cold. It maybe that a little got lost in the translation but I kept routing for the main character who was my favourite but I disliked all the characters, I read on to see if my opinion would change but no. I am not sure that I would read the next instalment which is a shame as for me the premise was good.

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  • Carrie
  • 08-06-17

Terrible

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Not a strong story but a terrible narrator.

What could Leena Lehtolainen have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Better narrator

Would you be willing to try another one of Amy Rubinate’s performances?

Absolutely not

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from My First Murder?

I couldn't listen far enough to make that decision.