Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Aake Jermo as Riku Rauta

I read another novel by Riku Rauta, who was really the legendary journalist Aake Jermo. This one, Murha Tähtitorninmäellä/Murder at the Observatory Hill (1947), was better than the previous one I reviewed here some months back. This starts very promisingly, with a guy called Kurt Sarkka maybe committing a murder in a haze of booze and sudden unemployment. He also has pieces of shrapnel in his head from the war - the same thing had happened in the other Rauta novel, which makes me want to speak about noir again. (It is amazing, really, that all these things were happening all over the world at the same time. Shrapnel-in-the-head was a popular trope in noir films and movies in the fourties and fifties. And everytime it makes people jumpy, neurotic and possibly violent. Just as our Kurt Sarkka here.)

The rest isn't so good. For some reason, Riku Rauta is also a person in the play - he's the famous mystery writer and journalist. He has no real dramatic role in the thing and I can't see why Jermo wanted to put himself in there. (This happens in Helsinki, though, while Jermo was stationed in Turku in the late fourties, so it really can't be him.) Rauta/Jermo changes the POV character too often and the reader is left wondering who's in the lead. Maybe no one. The solution is not as rushed as in Jermo's other novel.

I tried to get a cover scan for the post, but they failed me at the university library. The book is extremely scarce and Jermo wrote somewhere that he didn't have a copy of his own. I read the book as a reprint which has no cover illo.

No comments: