• My First Murder

  • Maria Kallio, Book 1
  • By: Leena Lehtolainen
  • Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars (257 ratings)

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My First Murder

By: Leena Lehtolainen
Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
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Publisher's Summary

After a student choir’s practice session at a Helsinki villa turns deadly, Detective Maria Kallio finds herself in the middle of the action - and her first murder case. Someone in the group wanted playboy Tommi Peltonen dead, but that’s one song these suspects refuse to sing. Behind the choir’s jovial facade lies bitter passion, and the victim’s seemingly perfect life hid a host of sins that made him a target of almost everyone in the villa.

As a young female - and a redhead to boot - Maria knows that solving this case will help her overcome her perceived shortcoming in the eyes of her colleagues. But as the case takes startling twists and turns, and friends and foes become interchangeable, will she be able to piece together the clues before the killer strikes again?

©2012 Leena Lehtolainen (P)2012 Brilliance Audio

What listeners say about My First Murder

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Series off to a weak start

My First Murder is Book 1 of the 6 book Maria Kallio audio series. I listened to and reviewed the other five books first. This is by far the weakest novel in this wonderful modern detective suspense thriller series. Some have complained about the narration of Amy Rubinate; I disagree!

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

First Published 1993 So Expect Some Social Change


Maria Kallio is a young sergeant in the Serious Crime Unit in Helsinki, Finland. The book was first published in 1993 so if it seems socially a bit off that is probably the reason. Maria is trying to decide her career path. She is divided between the police work she originally considered her goal-- she naively wanted to help both victims and criminals-- and an interest in practicing law, the current goal of her education. When the book opens she is engaged in a six month temporary assignment with the police

Her immediate supervisor is hors de combat due to his alcoholism. Her coworker is about to go on vacation and has made it clear that nothing is going to stand between him and his vacation, least of all a newly reported body found floating beside a dock connected to a summer villa. At first it seems the death might be the cause of an accident. Then it becomes Maria's first murder.

This is a procedural not an action packed adventure. Maria interviews all of the potential suspects and witnesses as she looks deeper into the case. There's connections within connections as it seems that everyone is somehow involved in more than one way with everyone else.

The narrator is quite authoritative when it comes to the names-- Finnish is not a language that people in the US tend to be familiar with by ear so hearing the names is quite helpful. Also most of the main characters have short first names which helps with keeping them straight.

All of the Finns I have met tend to be avid readers and when speaking English rarely use colloquialisms. I think that the dialogue in the book which is described as "wooden" by at least one reviewer is an accurate translation. It's one of those cases I guess where the translator must choose a between accuracy and accessibility in another language. I don't think choosing accuracy was a mistake.

So if you are thinking about listening to this book you might want to try a sample first.

I'm very pleased that AmazonCrossing and Brilliance Audio are making these translated works available to a wider audience.

8 people found this helpful

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Could this be a Scandinavian Cozy?

This book is a bit slow-placed (almost like a British Cozy set in Finland) and I didn't find the choir characters very engaging. Also, the protagonist, new detective Maria Kallio, is a bit whiny. The setting is 1993 Finland and I had hoped for a bit more "flavor" in the story from the background. However, this was still an interesting book for anyone who is fond of mysteries and isn't looking for the dark, sometimes gory, novels we have come to expect from Scandinavia.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ka
  • 11-04-17

translation

the translation of names and places was horrible. Finnish names are not difficult to pronounce. Just a little bit of research by the reader would have made this book much more enjoyable. Hearing the mispronounced names made me grindge every time. Even Maria.... Please.

3 people found this helpful

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Childish and Inane

I should have been clued in by the title—My First Murder which somehow reminded me of a kids book like My First Coloring Book. The main character is an inane, infantile “lead” detective who spends every other breath either whining about how she doesn’t even really want to be a detective or confessing that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing. A few times in the beginning she says that the only reason she has the job is because she’s a woman and there is some governmental effort to improve representation of women in the police force. Sometimes she asserts her “strength” and “feminist” credentials by doing things like telling her boss not to smoke in her office. But other times she reflects on how her too tight shirt (button about to pop off) or her tight jeans make other cops and suspects take her less seriously. Sometimes when hanging out with the suspects (yes, literally hanging out, having tea, having beer, because they are an old circle of friends) she asks them questions about their private lives which she freely admits is just her being nosy and nothing to do with her investigation. Ugh. The reasons why a novice like her was put in charge of a murder investigation is either seriously implausible or a serious danger sign on the incompetence of the Finnish police network.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A rookie investigator may be in over her head.

Everything about Maria Kallio is tentative: She has yet to finish a degree she's not sure she wants. She has a place to live only because her relatives let her stay there while the apartment market is down. She has a job with the police, but it's terrible - and temporary. She doesn't much care for it, except as a livelihood, and she seems not particularly good at it: She is socially awkward, and gets too emotionally involved. But it's just a job, and not a great one, at that, so all she has to do is keep her head down, not screw up, and she'll be out of there soon enough. Then she gets reluctantly put in charge of a major case. Can she actually see this one thing through to the end?

This is a very brief first novel in a series about Maria Kallio. I liked the way the main character's "awkward age" is portrayed against a cast of suspects at a similar stage in life. The simple drudgery and distractions of police work are also described well, and played off against the crime-solving and "character" aspects of the story in an effective manner.

The narrator has a lovely voice and her delivery is very well-suited to the character.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Narrator made this impossible to complete

I was excited to find a Finnish crime series with so many titles to keep me listening through the winter waiting for another season of Bordertown -I love stories that connect me to my family in Finland. It’s possible that some of the issues are translation problems, but this narrator is impossible to listen to. I agree with other reviews that she sounded like the text-to-audio narration but a few chapters in she seemed to loosen up a bit. But the pronunciation of names is ridiculous. I’ve listened to other Nordic novels narrated with excellent pronunciation of people and place names. This was just lazy reading on top of a storyline that was so wildly implausible that I couldn’t get past chapter 4. Sad to let this whole series go, but there’s so much better available in this genre.

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Electronic narration

Narrator often felt electronic though I am sure she wasn’t. Story line worked. Learned more about Finnish culture.

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Narrator Put Me To Sleep With Monotone

I rarely read a print book and love Audible, but this might be a better book to skip audio and go for paper. If I'd read instead of listening, I may have added one more star by avoiding the narrator, but too late to test that now, I wouldn't pay 2 times to read this book. I use Audible because most times, the narration enriches the book, not here.

I was put off by the social interaction Maria had with the suspects, there's no way she'd be assigned this case in real life because of being connected to most of the suspects. I got tired of lines like: I shouldn't be out drinking with this *insert suspect name here* even with a "let's not talk about the case" caveat. And enough of the nonstop trips to the machine for thin hot chocolate, filler. If I was reading this I could scan past things like the hot chocolate complaints and move on, but that monotone voice just drones on and no way to easily bypass like your brain would do with a book in front of eyeballs. If the cocoa is so bad, quit mentioning she runs to the machine every time her brain needs a break.

I wrote the narrator's name on my "avoid in the future" list.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good book... LOUSY narrator!

The narrator was so bad that I can’t listen to her anymore and I deleted all the sequels to this book I already bought... VERY disappointing.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve Sidders
  • 02-28-19

Bad accent

It was spoilt for me as the accent was totally off so much so that I gave up half way through

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • N
  • 01-31-19

Definitely worth **reading**

The story is good, but unfortunately the person performing the Audible edition is not good at pacing. Their spoken version detracts from the tale being told. I will read the rest of the series. I won't listen to them.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary Ingate
  • 09-03-18

My FirstMurder

Please remove from my Audio. The reader is so boring I can't listen to the story. I will read it myself.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • lynne
  • 06-20-22

Boring

Monotonous voice did not help this lack lustre sorry.
Needs a different narrator. Story was boring .

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Ed Richards
  • 07-05-20

Disappointed

Disappointing storyline that failed to sustain attention. Voice-over unsympathetic to European setting of the book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jaye22
  • 10-12-16

Slightly disappointing

I liked the idea of the book, but the characters left me a bit cold. It maybe that a little got lost in the translation but I kept routing for the main character who was my favourite but I disliked all the characters, I read on to see if my opinion would change but no. I am not sure that I would read the next instalment which is a shame as for me the premise was good.

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  • Carrie
  • 08-06-17

Terrible

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Not a strong story but a terrible narrator.

What could Leena Lehtolainen have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Better narrator

Would you be willing to try another one of Amy Rubinate’s performances?

Absolutely not

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from My First Murder?

I couldn't listen far enough to make that decision.

1 person found this helpful