Maria Kallio, a newly recruited policewoman with a law degree, debuts in “My First Murder” by Leena Lehtolainen. Tommi Peltonen, a playboy, is found dead after a party with close friends from his choir, floating face-down on the water of the lake at his summer villa. It seems one of these friends is the murderer - there are seven for Maria Kallio to choose from. Published in 1993, and translated into English in 2012, the novel is an unpicking of the privileged lifestyle of the Finnish upper-class.
Kimmo Joentaa first appears in “Ice Moon” in 2006, the creation of Jan Costin Wagner, a German writer who lives in Finland. In contrast to “My First Murder” there is no mystery in this tale as the murderer is revealed early on. The case involves a woman who has been suffocated in her sleep in an apparently motiveless killing. The next day, a young man is found dead in his bed, and a third death follows. Joentaa takes on the investigations shortly after the death of his young wife from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His own grief becomes entangled with that of the victims’ families as he tries to understand the quiet, self-effacing serial-killer and his urge to destroy. The landscape of Finland and the strangely long days of summer provide the atmospheric background.