The Snow Woman

snow womanThe Snow Woman by Leena Lehtolainen, translated by Owen Witesman

Amazon Crossing, December 2014

Originally published as Luminainen, 1996

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher

I’m new to this series, which was recently translated nearly 20 years after it was published. Maria Kallio is a detective in Espoo, outside Helsinki, and her career background is both as a lawyer and a policewoman.

The case involves the mysterious death of Elina Rosberg, a feminist psychologist who is found frozen near the grounds of her home and workplace, the Rosberga Institute, where she conducts therapy and runs workshops for women only. The novel follows the stories of the women who are staying there over the holidays, including a woman escaping a religious sect and wanting custody of her nine children. Kallio also investigates other crimes along the way (an assault, an arson, etc), and the main police department storyline involves the release of a dangerous prisoner who is searching for Maria and her partner Pihlo.

Overall the book was only a fine read form me, for a number of reasons. I think the feminist ass-kicking heroine was a bit more novel in 1996 than she is today. And the two main storylines didn’t feel connected enough for me. The characters Kallio encountered in her investigation had the makings of good plotlines (the woman escaping the religious sect, an astropsychologist whose job is just as odd as it sounds), but overall the novel didn’t work for me.

5 thoughts on “The Snow Woman

  1. Sorry to hear this one didn’t do it for you, Rebecca. The setting sounds interesting and so does the context. But sometimes, things just don’t…gel.

  2. I’m not sure if this author’s books are available in the UK. Sorry it didn’t do it for you but, as you say, it’s good to try new writers out.

    • I’d heard of Amazon Crossing before but hadn’t read any of the books they publish until now. I’m now back to an old favorite, Anne Holt (catching up on the Vik and Stubo series).

  3. This was translated 20 years after publication? At any rate, doesn’t sound like my type of book either but at least you did give the author a chance. Sometimes, I don’t do that much.

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