Archive for May 6, 2015

TPA2015S

 

 

Next week the Petrona Award winner will be announced at CrimeFest in Bristol. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend but having successfully guessed the first two winners of this prestigious award I am going to be very cheeky and select my winner. I have read only four of the shortlisted books, but I think it would be a good thing if this year’s winner did not come from the usual suspects.  

I have also thought about which book Maxine Clarke, in whose memory this award is given, would have chosen.

My winner would be The Hummingbird by Kati Hiekkapelelto translated from the Finnish by David Hackston. This novel has an Hummunusual protagonist, Anna Fekete, a Yugoslav Hungarian who moved to Finland as a child. Anna has family problems, and an interesting love life, as well as a social conscience. She struggles with the antagonism of her racist older colleague Esko, and the problems of her brother who has failed to make a proper life for himself.

The location is in a northern Finnish coastal town, and the police work as the team of detectives track down a serial killer seems very realistic. There is a moving sub plot about a teenage Kurdish girl in danger of being married off to a much older man, or facing  an even worse fate. This is a very good book and the fact that it is a debut novel is surprising because it has fully drawn characters as well as a gripping plot.

I also think Maxine would have liked this story with the female detective, the complex plot and contemporary social commentary. But that is just my opinion.

Less of the Social Services, less of the nonsense about integration, just get these people into work. Working life in Finland isn’t so weird and wonderful that an immigrant can’t survive. But of course this would mean less funding for integration projects, fewer jobs and meetings for all those experts. So that’s that then.