Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson
Inspector Kari Vaara is back and instead of being the chief of police in a small town above the Arctic Circle he is now a detective with homicide in Helsinki. Kate, Kari’s wife, is thrilled to be in bustling Helsinki but Kari never missed the city. However he would do anything to make his pregnant wife happy. Kari is assigned a partner, an outcast like himself, but a unique individual unlike Kari in many ways. The duo pick up a murder in their first few days of the job and what looks clear cut is anything but simple. Kari must decide what resolution he and his conscious can live with as he solves the murder, investigates a national hero for war crimes and deals with a prolonged visit from his brother and sister-in-law.
Thompson manages to keep all the storylines interesting and ties them up well. How the murder investigation is resolved is great because it’s unlike anything I’ve read before. The best part of the book for me was learning the ways Finnish culture, law, everything, is different than here. Get accused of a crime in Finland and your arresting officer doesn’t like you? Doesn’t matter if you aren’t guilty, they can keep you for days just because they want you there. Having a baby? All new mothers receive a care package from the government with enough clothes for your child for a year plus diapers and other necessary baby items. The glimpses of recent Finnish history, especially concerning activities during WWII, were very interesting as well.