Hella Mauzer has just been fired by the police and is now a reluctant private investigator. Escaping the mind-numbing routine of shadowing unfaithful spouses, Hella finds herself at the centre of an investigation of multiple murders.
It all begins when a prostitute is found floating upside down in Helsinki Harbour. Not exactly a high priority case for the Helsinki police, so homicide chief Jokela passes the job to his former colleague Hella. It’s beginning to look like a serial killer is at work when another lady of the night narrowly escapes being driven into the harbour, handcuffed to the car by her client.
What begins like a taut whodunit turns into something more tantalizing as Hella turns her attention to different suspects, often to the consternation of the fascinating Inspector Mustonen, charismatic, ambitious and trying desperately to live up to the standards of his high-maintenance wife.
Katja Ivar grew up in Russia and the U.S. She travelled the world extensively, from Almaty to Ushuaia, from Karelia to Kyushu, before finally settling in Paris where she lives with her husband and three children. She received a B.A. in Linguistics and a master’s degree in Contemporary History from Sorbonne University. Evil Things was her debut novel.
This was a clever tale of murder and mystery in 1950s Finland, with a female PI doing her best to solve crimes and keep her business afloat.
At a time when women in the UK were only just about being allowed to join the police, seeing a female detective leading the charge is pretty interesting, makes a nice change from most historical crime novels with their male protagonists.
The writing is crisp and the plot tight, the supposedly straight forward death of a prostitute goes somewhere completely different and twists and turns around the city as Hella and Inspector Mustonen try to solve the mystery.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.