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My First Murder (The Maria Kallio Series) Paperback – 11 Dec 2012

3.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossing (11 Dec. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612184375
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612184371
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Leena Lehtolainen is Finland’s bestselling female crime author, first reaching international acclaim for her hit detective series starring Maria Kallio. In the mere twenty years since she began the series with My First Murder (1993), Lehtolainen has become a classic of Nordic crime literature – Lehtolainen has been called “Finland’s answer to Henning Mankel” (Brigitte), while her Maria Kallio series has been ascribed “cult status” (Bunte).

Lehtolainen twice won the annual prize for best Finnish crime novel, and has also been nominated for the prestigious Glass Key award for the best Nordic crime novel. Readers around the world continue to discover Lehtolainen’s detective novels – to date, over 2 million copies of her titles have been sold in numerous languages including German, French, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Hebrew, and Chinese, and the Kallio series has been adapted for television.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 April 2013
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended by a friend. A very quick read and only $2.99 as an e-reader. While looking up the author, I found this first translation from the Finnish mystery is over twenty years old! That explains a great deal.

The novel is categorized as a mystery, and it really is not. The plot line is easy to guess. A young woman, Maria Kallio, short, red headed with impossible hair, but by all accounts, very attractive is the lead detective. Now, this is surprising. The woman is a temporary detective, trying to figure out if the law or police work is her calling. This is her first murder, and it has come to her because of two reasons. 1. Her boss is an alcoholic and cannot be counted upon for much. 2. Her immediate superior is ready to start vacation. By all accounts this would not fly in any other police station, but, here we are.

A group of choir singers meet to practice at the summer house of the family of one of them, Tommi. As the book opens, Tommi is found dead. Maria tells the story in her own way, she interviews the singers, some of whom she knew when they were students together. Now, this should disqualify her from the get go, but, no, off she goes. Maria spends the rest of the book trying to investigate them. She is also very interested in the victim and his colleagues and family. Each chapter is headed with a line from the poem quoted in the preface, and, as we come to find out, they are relevant to the murder case. This part of the novel was very clever, but easily missed.

Maria is not a good detective from the start. First, she allows all of the singers to congregate together before she interviews them.
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I really wish that when books are translated for the UK market, an English translator is used rather than an American. In this book, there are the usual spelling mistakes, leaving the letter u out of colour and neighbour etc, together with the persistent elongation of 'got' into 'gotten' and the words chug and jag which mean nothing to us at all. The translator doesn't appear to know what phrases to use for us Brits, which added to the fact (apart from the characters names), it made me think this was an American crime novel and not Finnish, which didn't appeal to me at all.
On the procedural side, would it not have been a conflict of interest the protagonist knowing the group of people involved in the murder she was investigating? There is a distinct lack of evidence contamination by no latex gloves being worn etc. Or is it different in Finland? I noticed the book was written in the early 1990's so perhaps things have changed.
I'm also not a big fan of first person narration either. Much appeared to be made about the protagonist's life, hair, clothes and make-up, which seemed to pad the book out rather than focus on the investigation.
I found myself finishing this book only because I didn't want to appear to have wasted my time. I doubt though that I will read any more in this series.
Obviously the Finns loved it, and perhaps it is better read in the original Finnish, but the translation left me wondering what it was that made it so compelling for them.
I feel authors really need to think about who they get to translate their books, if they want to attract UK readers. People may think this pedantic, but unfortunately it really puts me off reading a lot of books.
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Helsinki 1993. The body of Tommi Peltonen is found floating in the sea near his parents' summerhouse.Tommi was there with seven other members of a choir to practice for a concert. The pólice officer investigating the death is Maria Kallio, who knew Tommi and other members of the choir when he was her flatmate's boyfriend. It is soon a murder investigation and the obvious suspects are the fellow choir members. As the investigation procedes it appears there is more to Tommi than the rich, succesful, superficially friendly serial womaniser. As the title suggests the story is a first person narrative by Maria. She is a 28 year old redhead with a snub nose and freckles, 2 inches smaller than the mínimum requirement, who seems to be both a student at law school and a student at the pólice academy, yet she is lead investigator, simply because her boss is drunk somewhere, As it is summer everyone is on holiday or sick and Violent Crimes Unit is run solely by Maria and another person,Koivu. Poor Maria isn't sure if she wants to be a pólice officer or criminal lawyer, or even something else, but her student debt is such that a change of career would be too much. She, of course, solves the crime. There is little to like in this first novel by Leena Lehtolainen, the first person narrative would be better if Maria was not such a moaning minnie, upset about her life, being a woman in the pólice forcé, despite benefitting from it. She runs around like a headless chicken and is tolerated simply because she is not a drunkard. The other characters in the book are pretty unlikeable, with the exception of Koivu and Tuulia. I can only asume the later books are better unless LL has a wide circle of family and friends, each buying multiple copies. Perhaps the success of this case will give Maria the confidence to become a little more human in later novels, but I'm not sure if I will bother.
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