Kiss of Santa: Crime Short Fiction (Finland)

Leena Lehtolainen, born in Vesanto in 1964, is Finland’s most successful female crime author, with her titles consistently topping the country’s best-seller lists. More than two million copies of her books have been sold worldwide, and her works have been translated into twenty-nine languages. In addition to her career as an author, Lehtolainen has worked as a literary researcher, columnist, and critic. Her best-known character is the tough, down-to-earth, and emotionally intelligent police officer Maria Kallio.

To celebrate Christmas in July, we are featuring this taut thriller of a woman in a fat Santa suit, set on a very special department store mission. You can find this new story, and so much more, in the tingling collection, Helsinki Noir, published by Akashic Press.

Translated from Finnish by Jill G. Timbers.


It was a bitter-cold December evening. The wind whipped sleet into my face as I crossed Mannerheimintie Street. The lights changed and I barely managed to whisk a half-blind old woman safely out of the way of an approaching streetcar. The conductor rang the warning bells and the old woman thanked me effusively in Swedish. She called me “young man.”

To read the rest of the story, please click here to continue on the Trafika Europe site.

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