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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.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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!
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
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.
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?
Would you be willing to try another one of Amy Rubinate’s performances?
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.