‘The Man Who Died’ by Antti Tuomainen


Mushroom entrepreneur Jaakko is only thirty-seven years of age, so when a doctor reveals that he’s been poisoned and will soon die, Jaakko is determined to find out who is responsible. But that isn’t his only problem – the new mushroom company across the street are trying to steal his customers, one of his most trusted workers has been offered a new job, and his wife is cheating on him. Can Jaakko fend off the competition, catch the killer and uncover the truth before the poison finishes him off?

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but apparently, it’s very different to his other books. No matter, this one grabbed me from the first page and the gradually unfolding mystery kept me rivetted right until the end. Though translated books are always a little harder to judge, since they depend on the skill of the translator, David Hackston is highly rated for his work on Swedish and Finnish books. Given that he’s been awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation, I think it’s fair to say he’s pretty damn good.

Back to the book. There’s a wonderfully black humour that underscores the plot and Tuomainen’s storytelling is nothing less than superb. Not to give too much away, I loved the antics involving the Samurai sword and the sauna – witty and hilarious without allowing the hero’s adventures to shoot off in unrealistic directions. The characters are well-rounded and believable, and the author’s skill keeps us guessing all the way to the final conclusion.

A gripping and highly entertaining read.

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