years ago, when Aleksi was thirteen, his mother disappeared.
No amount of
investigation could discover her or her body. Aleksi and his mother had been
very close, and over the years, as he grew up, he brooded over the mystery,
until he became convinced that he knew who was responsible: Henrik Saarinen, a
Eventually he managed
to get the job of caretaker of Saarinen’s country estate. Most of the time he
was alone, apart from the cook, Enni, who seemed to be the only permanent staff
member. At times Saarinen, his daughter
Amanda, and the chauffeur, Harmala, came and went, as well as Ketomaa, a
datective still working on the disappearance of Aleksi’s mother. All have a significant
part to play, and even after Saarinen’s death — I don’t think I am giving much
away by mentioning this — everything moves on effortlessly to the final answer, with a truly shocking
twist at the end, which I most certainly did not see coming.
It is interesting to
come across a crime novel set in an unusual country: Finland, home of geysers
and volcanoes, of tales of Vikings and Norse gods – and of very modern crime.
The plot is satisfactorily complex and intriguing, with new characters and
strands introduced along the way. The time shifts from past to present, and it
is important to notice the date at the top of each chapter. I must mention here
the translation, which is excellent, flowing smoothly, and conveying the dark,
unnerving atmosphere originally written by the author.
Antti Tuomainen was
voted best Finnish Crime Writer in 2000, and has apparently not been surpassed.
Perhaps we may see some more Finnish crime of this high standard?