Book Review | J. P. Pulkkinen’s Vantaa is a place where people’s needs and problems may not have been met on a large scale.

At the center of the new detective is a girl sleeping in the kitchen closet.


JP Pulkkinen: A child in a red closet. Work. 266 s.

JP Pulkkinen (b. 1959) is a well-known radio journalist and author of TV documentaries, most recently involved in Politics-Finland series. As an author, Pulkkinen has published nine books since 2004, three of them in the so-called Vantaa series.

The Vantaa series is nominally a detective series, but in fact it is much more. Pulkkinen uses the detective concept to describe the wider transformation in Finnish society through the city of Vantaa.

Forty single mother Kaisa Kaita disappears at the same time as the police chase a serial rapist. Kaisa’s eight-year-old daughter, Helmi, is a special and stubborn child who has chosen to sleep in her own kitchen, a space built by Otto’s brother in the kitchen cupboard, which he has painted red on the inside at Helmi’s request.

The essential question for Kaisa’s search is: was Helmi in her cave when her mother disappeared and if so, what did she see there?

A child in a red closet contains several references to previous parts of the Vantaa series Blue wing and White crow. Police figures are also familiar with them.

Now Constable Liina Vahtera is training as a Commissioner and is getting a new team on her own proposal to solve crimes quickly. Timo Markkulak, a veteran police officer who has already retired due to his injury, is joining the group.

Pulkkinen is In his series, he examined the transformation of the city of Vantaa from the countryside of Helsinki into its own city rising in the middle of the forest by means of fiction. Municipal politics and political turmoil have been part of this description, as has, among other things, the nationalist party with its backing forces. The police have left to investigate the problems that have become a by-product of development.

A child in a red closet offers a perfectly valid mystery mystery, but, as has been said, that is not the main point.

Pulkkinen’s novel can be seen as an exemplary thriller, but a detailed description of Vantaa’s landscape, life cycle and atmosphere takes it further, towards the human destinies and social issues that inevitably arise in the midst of any evolving, demographically diverse urban center.

A place where people’s needs and problems may still not have been met on a large scale.

Living alone, a 37 – year – old female detective dedicated to her work may already be a cliché in detective literature, but Pulkkinen does not make Liina Vahtera feel like a cliché, but essentially the mental and physical world she describes. Like many of the novel’s characters, Vahtera carries in his soul the Vantanism that Pulkkinen strives to describe and understand on the one hand, and on the other hand.

However, the little Helmi Kaitaa is the central figure in the novel, a mysterious child that will be remembered, and the reader will have to think about the future.

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