The Finnish Whodunnit Society
The Finnish Whodunnit Society, founded in 1984, brings together crime fiction and detective stories enthusiasts from all over the country and even abroad – readers, authors, translators, journalists as well as critics, collectors, and publishers.
Our purpose is to promote this exciting literary genre. We publish a quarterly magazine, Ruumiin kulttuuri, award an annual prize for a best crime novel of the previous year and organise various events to our 1,000 members concentrating on murder and mayhem in their fictional form. In 2024, we will celebrate our 40th anniversary with several events around Finland. We are a non-profit organization based in Helsinki.
Our emblem depicts Finland’s most famous fictional sleuth, Detective Inspector Palmu of the Helsinki CID, as portrayed in four feature films of the 60s. The actor Joel Rinne immortalized the bowler, the muffler, and the cigar into an immediately recognizable figure. Originally, the Palmu character was a creation of the internationally acclaimed novelist Mika Waltari for his award-winning début mystery of 1939, Kuka murhasi rouva Skrofin? (trans. into French as Qui a tué Mme Skrof?; also into Swedish, German and other European languages). Another Palmu detective novel followed immediately the next year, whereas the third and final one appeared only after a hiatus of 22 years, boosted by the successful filmatizations of the first two stories.
The society created a national prize for the best crime novel already in 1985 to promote and encourage Finnish crime writing. The winner of The Clew of the Year receives a rotating trophy, a foot-high wood relief depicting Inspector Palmu, plus a diploma thumb-printed in the presence of a police officer and a necklace made from chainsaw chain engraved ceramic plate for keeps. The prize will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2025, Since 2014 we have also awarded a diploma for the best Finnish debut crime novel.
In addition to the prizes for Finnish crime novels, we also give an annual honorary award for foreign crime fiction. More than 20 international authors – among them Colin Dexter, Patricia Highsmith, P. D. James, Håkan Nesser, Henning Mankell, Fred Vargas and Pierre Lemaitre have received this award since 1993. More recently, the winners have included Belinda Bauer, Keigi Higashino, Ann Cleeves and Åsa Larsson. The award has been given either for individual works, series of novels or contribution to the genre.
The Society publishes a quarterly magazine, the Ruumiin kulttuuri (the name is a pun on ’Body Culture’). The magazine consists of articles on crime fiction, Finnish and international author profiles and interviews, bibliographies, current news, and a comprehensive review section, the ”Kirjakäräjät”, or "Capital Sentences". The contents also include topical notes on thrillers on the silver and home screens as well as on stage, not to forget genre-related events also in other media, TV and radio. In addition to this comprehensive magazine, we also publish podcasts with Finnish crime fiction authors.
Every autumn, we participate in the Helsinki Book Fair magic. The four-day event has over 1,000 performers from Finland and abroad. Not only do we host a stand with guest authors at the fair but we also produce multiple panel discussions on a stage on Saturday.
The Society also organises various events, such as theatre trips and interviews with crime novelists. The open to all and livestreamed interviews take place at Kallio Library in Helsinki on the first Tuesday of the month (excluding the summer months).
The Finnish Whodunnit Society
PO Box 284, FI-00531 Helsinki, Finland
For more information, please contact:
Society: Sini Paloheimo (sinipaloheimo(at)gmail.com)
Magazine Ruumiin kulttuuri: Päivi Remes (ruumiin.kulttuuri(at)dekkariseura.fi)