Dear editor of the Economist

The Economist lehti moitti suomalaista rikoskirjallisuutta masentavaksi jutussaan 2. helmikuuta... Tässä linkki juttuun: Cultural Revolution

Nelosen uutiset mm. tarttui aiheeseen ja kommentoinkin sitä. Katso tästä Nelosen uutinen: Economist: Suomalainen musiikki ja kirjat ovat masentavia.

Kirjoitin vastineen lehdelle...

Dear editor of the Economist,

You state in your article “Cultural Revolution” on Feb 2nd  that “Finnish detective novels are too depressing”. This is quite untrue.

I remember one – although I’ve fortunately forgotten it’s name – that had a happy ending. Another author had two jokes in his crime novel. He was never published again.  A third one included some hope in her story, but fortunately killed the main character in the ending. She got some nice reviews in the press.

Kill the humor now, says a voice inside me. It is understandable, because I’ve written 13 crime novels of the Helsinki Homicide –series. In Finland it is called the Takamäki –series.

So here are a couple of facts. Finland has a very strong tradition in crime novels beginning over a hundred years ago. Finnish people are also avid readers as we still have a strong library system. But on any given year approximately half of the top selling books in the country are crime novels.

Unfortunately not many of them have been translated in English, but many in German. Here is one reason. A couple of years back most Finnish authors didn’t have an agent. The feeling was that of the rock guitar virtuoso who only plays in his local club: the big league boys will find me if they want to.

Unfortunately the real big players never go the local club in Helsinki or happen to know how to read Finnish.

In Finland writers are not used to the agent culture as they were content with dealing with the publishing company. Sadly our companies have been mainly interested in the Finnish market. The Finnish soil has been and still is quite untouched as the international mining firms have recently noticed in that business.

But there is a special distinction in the Finnish crime novels. Realism is the driving force in many of them. Unlike in Hollywood movies the hero does not save the world, but solves the crime. Social issues are very present and the reader can – and will – connect with the main character. But usually stories are set in the torrid sleet of November in the housing projects or the countryside where there is usually nothing to smile about.

And Finland fought the Winter war.

I had to include this, because now the Finnish ministry of Foreign affairs is obliged to issue the Finnish cross of Merit to me as this is printed in a English language publication. Ministry takes this very seriously.

But don’t take me wrong, Finnish crime novels are not all true crime stories. The genre here is very wide and in a few we do also save the world.

But depressing? Crime generally is. Realistic? Mostly. Good reads? Definitely.

Jarkko Sipilä

Crime reporter and author


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