Bestselling author Leena Lehtolainen celebrates her 50th birthday

Lehtolainen bday Mar2014Leena Lehtolainen, who got her first novel published at the age of 12 in 1976, has enjoyed a long, industrious and internationally successful career. Most famous for her 12-part Maria Kallio series, she has authored more than 20 books and become known for injecting a strong female perspective into hard-boiled crime narratives. In total her books have sold more than 2 million copies, and have been translated to 29 languages. Today Lehtolainen celebrates her 50th birthday. We wish her our warmest congratulations!

“The further I travel, the more I am also representing Finland…people want to know if my books tell the truth about Finnish society,” Lehtolainen says in an extensive interview published today in Finland’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat. “In particular I try to consciously keep my Maria Kallio novels as Finnish as possible.”

In the interview Lehtolainen also says that Germany has her strongest international fan base. The Devil’s Cubs (Paholaisen pennut, Tammi 2012), the conclusion to her Bodyguard trilogy starring tough but haunted Finnish bodyguard Hilja Ilveskero, was published in Germany in January of 2014 by Rowohlt as Das Nest des Teufels. Listen to a recent interview with Lehtolainen on Germany’s NDR radio here.

Helsingin Sanomat also features a video of Lehtolainen reading a Finnish excerpt from The Devil’s Cubs. Read the interview and see the video (both in Finnish) here.

The 12th entry in the Maria Kallio series, Iron Triangle (Rautakolmio, Tammi), was published in Finland in August of 2013, and rose immediately onto the Finnish bestseller lists. It will be published in Germany by Rowohlt in September 2014. The ninth book in the series, Snow Woman (Luminainen, Tammi 1996), was published by Tokyo Sogensha in Japan in 2013 and is due for an October, 2014 publication in the U.S by Amazon. The first book in Lehtolainen’s Bodyguard trilogy (Henkivartija, Tammi 2009) will be published in the U.S by Amazon in November of this year.

Lehtolainen’s latest book, A Life in Six Scenes (Kuusi kohtausta Sadusta, Tammi 2014) will be published in Finland this fall. This standalone psychological mystery represents a departure from Lehtolainen’s crime novels.

The Bodyguard Trilogy:
ARMENIA, Guitank
FRANCE, Hachette Livre
GERMANY, Rowohlt
NETHERLANDS, Unieboek | Het Spectrum
RUSSIA, Azbooka-Atticus
SPAIN, Destino
TAIWAN, Linking
TURKEY, Nemesis
Original publisher: Finland, Tammi

The Maria Kallio series:
BRAZIL, Autentica
GERMANY, Rowohlt
GREECE, Livani
JAPAN, Tokyo Sogensha
LATVIA, Zvaigzne
SPAIN, Destino
TAIWAN, Linking
TURKEY, Bizim Kitaplar
TV RIGHTS, Studio Hamburg
Original publisher: Finland, Tammi

Leena Lehtolainen’s works have also been published in (rights reverted): ALBANIA, CHINA, THE CZECH REPUBLIC, ESTONIA, ITALY, LITHUANIA, THE NETHERLANDS, ROMANIA, SLOVAKIA, UKRAINE


Leena Lehtolainen

Leena Lehtolainen is the top female crime author in Finland: her new titles always head straight to #1 on the Finnish bestseller lists.

Leena’s brand new title The Ripple Effect was published in August 2020. It is already the 15th book of the very popular Maria Kallio series that has sold over 2,5 million copies worldwide!

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The 1993 book Ensimmäinen murhani (My First Murder) kicked off Lehtolainen’s first and on-going crime novel series, which has brought an enthusiastically-received female perspective to the male-dominated detective genre through its distinctively down-to-earth heroine Maria Kallio. The Bodyguard Trilogy, meanwhile, stars a New York-trained bodyguard who is fiercely self-sufficient, highly alert to her surroundings, and haunted by horrific violence in her past.

Lehtolainen published her first novel at the age of 12; this work of juvenile fiction appeared in 1976. Leena Lehtolainen has also published outside the crime genre; her book The Charm of Figure Skating was voted sports book of the year 2010 in Finland and A Life in Six Scenes showed her return to literary fiction.

In her free time, Lehtolainen enjoys all kinds of music from 70’s punk to Schubert and Bach – just like Maria Kallio, the heroine of Lehtolainen’s crime novel series. And just as events in the Bodyguard (trilogy take the heroine Hilja Ilveskero all around Europe, Lehtolainen’s own work takes her to book festivals, exhibitions and other events across the globe.


Leena Lehtolainen

The Ripple Effect

2020, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen


2019, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

The Killer's Girlfriend

2018, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

The End of Innocence

2017, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

The Charm of Ice

2016, General Nonfiction, Memories & Biographies

Leena Lehtolainen

The Eye of the tiger

2016, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

A Stroke of Sadness

2015, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

The Iron Triangle

2013, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

The Devil's Cubs

2012, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

The Lion of Justice

2011, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

Where Have All the Young Girls Gone

2010, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

The Bodyguard

2009, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

On the Wrong Track

2008, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

The Nightingale Murder

2005, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

Below the Surface

2003, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

Before I Go

2000, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

Fatal Headwind

1998, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

Death Spiral

1997, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

Snow Woman

1996, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

Copper Heart

1995, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

Her Enemy

1994, Crime & Suspense

Leena Lehtolainen

My First Murder

1993, Crime & Suspense

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