4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable, gently-paced murder mystery,
This review is from: My First Murder (The Maria Kallio Series) (Paperback)
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My First Murder is the first book in Leena Lehtolainen's bestselling Finnish crime series featuring Detective Maria Kallio, and describes a student's murder.
The plot begins with Maria unexpectedly finding herself taking charge of a murder investigation because of her superior's alcoholism. The case involves the death of a student who was part of a student choir which was practising at a villa in Helsinki. As the detective digs a little, she discovers that behind the choir's jovial facade lie bitter passions, rivalries and secrets. Getting to the truth of the murder isn't helped by the fact that Maria knows both the victim and also a large number of the suspects. Maria also finds it a tough case because she is both young and a woman.
I found the Finnish names of both the people and places a little difficult to get used to at first, especially as a couple of the main characters have very similar names. You can also tell that the book was written some years ago (1993 in fact) because the technology is so dated - no mobile phones, Internet and so on.
I personally also found that there was too much description about the choir and the pieces of music they sing. In the middle portion of the book, these lengthy descriptions really slowed down the action.
I would describe the book's style as more relaxed than fast-paced. Neither is it a gritty crime thriller so much as a gentle murder mystery. I found Leena Lehtolainen's style of writing comparable to that of Swedish author Mari Jungstedt.
Overall, however, I did enjoy the book and look forward to reading the next instalment. Maria Kallio is a sufficiently engaging detective and I would like to read more about her.