Desert Island DVDs – Leena Lehtolainen


Two-times winner of Finland’s Whodunit Society’s annual prize for the best crime novel, Leena Lehtolainen’s books have been translated into 29 languages.

Embarking on a literary career at a very young age, her first book was published when she was 12. She has been a professional author since 1993.

Best-known for the Inspector Maria Kallio novels, Leena Lehtolainen’s writing has been acclaimed in her homeland for introducing a female perspective to what had had previously been a male dominated genre.

Alongside the ongoing Maria Kallio series Leena Lehtolainen has also written a trilogy featuring bodyguard Hilja Ilveskero.

Regularly compared to Henning Mankel, Leena Lehtolainen’s novels are a regular fixture at the top of Finland’s bestseller charts. She has been nominated for the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel.


Brideshead Revisited (UK, 1981)

‘I love Evelyn Waugh’s original novel, but it is amazing, how good the TV version is. It shows the complexity of the world it describes, and forces the watcher to ponder her relationship with faith. The cast is amazing, and I really enjoy the slow tempo of everything.’


Pride and Prejudice (UK, 1995)

‘I have been a die-hard Jane Austen fan since early teen years. This TV series has been classing from its premiere. It is humorous and entertaining, but the undercurrent is sarcastic and dark – money ruled society 200 years ago, as it does now. Jennifer Ehle has enough temperament for Elizabeth, and poor Colin Firth will always be THE Mr. Darcy for most of us.’


In Bruges (UK, 2008)

‘I like my humour dark, and this really satisfies my needs. The crazy story of the hit job gone wrong and two contract killers hiding in Bruges is hilarious in many ways. The poor Londoners Ray and Ken feel that they are in the middle of nowhere in idyllic Bruges, and Ralph Fiennes surprises us all in the final scenes. I really must visit Bruges one day.’


The Hunt (Denmark, 2012)

‘The Danish director Thomas Vinterberg shows us how the untruths and lies are constructed. In The Hunt, an innocent man is accused of being a paedophile, and even his nearest get against him. While sexually using kids is a disgusting crime, the witch-hunt which Lucas faces, is also very scary. I am from a small village myself and could imagine this happening here, too. Lucas is played by the marvellous Mads Mikkelsen, one of the greatest Nordic actors of our time.’


The Fencer (Finland, 2015)

‘This Finnish-Estonian-German co-operation is filmed mostly in Estonia and tells the true story of Endel Neelis, who escapes the Soviet police from Leningrad to Haapsalu, Estonia and starts teach fencing for the kids there. This movie is all about atmosphere and good acting, and the Estonian language spoken in the film is so beautiful and expressive. Big kudos to young Liisa Koppel, who plays Marta.’

Thanks to Leena Lehtolainen, Elina Ahlbäck Literary Agency, and Iceland Noir.

Iceland Noir booking information.

Leena Lehtolainen is published by Amazon Crossing


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