RIP James Thompson, American-Finnish Author

I was saddened to learn that James Thompson, author of the Kari Vaara series of hardboiled mysteries set in Finland, has died. It was unexpected, and he was too young.

With his first mystery, Snow Angels, I was impressed by his spare, poetic writing style and the way he captured Finnish culture (and its weather). I was impressed by everything in his second novel, Lucifer’s Tears, which introduced me to some of the complexity of recent Finnish history and the traces it has left in what today seems an almost uniquely peaceful and well-tempered country. Though with later books in the series I was sometimes cross that (like Thomas Hardy) he put his characters through so much (I was livid with Hardy when I read Tess and Jude the Obscure), my sense was that the path toward redemption was the thematic arc of the series.

My sympathies to his family. Many readers across the world will be saddened by this news.

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