Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Riku Rauta

I decided to dash this off from the desk before I take the book back to the library. I read last night Riku Rauta's aka Aake Jermo's small thriller Luodinreikä röntgenkuvassa/A Bullet Hole in a X-Ray Picture (1947) as a reprint from Seaflower. I'll be including a short story by Jermo in the Finnish pulp anthology I'm editing (well, "am" is a bit of an exaggeration).

Well, the story goes along pretty smoothly and it's sure a fast read, but you can see how Rauta/Jermo plots as he goes. He starts from a scratch and makes things along. He gets mixed up in his stuff. There's this guy who sees almost nothing and yet when he comes to a room, he "sees" the men in the room and recognizes them. One guy is said to be "very calm", yet he's furious in some of the scenes. The solution is very rushed, to say the least.

It's interesting, though, to notice that in a small book (originally 80 pages) like this there are elements that were found in the films noir at the same time: the protagonist's friend was wounded in the war and has pieces of ammo in his head which affect his behaviour (shades of the Chandler-scripted The Blue Dahlia, eh?), the man comes back from the front just to see his sister having been ruined (the classic motif of the original noir: man returning from war to see that his wife has been unloyal).

I wrote about the history of Jermo's two early crime novels here. The publisher was called Turun Kauppakirjapaino and the X-ray book can't be found in the Finnish National Library, for reason or another.

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