Introducing the Winner of the Best Crime Fiction Novel: LEAD WHITE by Jyrki Erra

Introducing the Winner of the Best Crime Fiction Novel: LEAD WHITE by Jyrki Erra

We are happy to announce that Elina Ahlbäck Literary Agency now represents the Winner of Best Crime Novel 2020 in Finland: LEAD WHITE by author and architect Jyrki Erra.

The Clue of the Year prize is awarded each year to the best crime fiction title of the previous year by the Finnish Whodunnit Society. 

LEAD WHITE follows the protagonist art expert Axel Wallas from Helsinki to Rome searching for his disappeared wife and a lost Caravaggio painting. The title for the book comes from the poisonous paint that Caravaggio extensively used and which allegedly caused his death.

We recommend this novel to the fans of Dan Brown and Umberto Eco.

Download the English synopsis and sample by clicking here


The starting point of the book is familiar: an innocent bystander gets involved in a dangerous international game. The author’s style, on the other hand, avoids the often-used artificial tricks of the contemporary thriller.

Erra’s books are reminiscent of thrillers written in the 1950s and 1960s, with the main emphasis on character depictions, mood creation, and scene descriptions rather than just action or brutal detail.

Erra has researched his work well, which brings a sense of fullness and care to it. Erra wants to also cultivate his audience, desiring to convey to the reader more than just glorious entertainment.

-Pertti Avola, Helsinkin Sanomat Newspaper, Finland

This art detective thriller that is constructed around the masterpiece by Michelangelo Caravaggio moves fluidly forward like an Italian little criminal on his scooter.
– KMV Magazine, Finland

by Jyrki ErraAxel Wallas is a Finnish painter and Caravaggio expert, who is asked to consult a professor of art history about a painting that may be a masterpiece of Caravaggio himself.

He is unable to give a definite estimate. The next morning the professor is found murdered and the painting is gone.

Surprisingly, Axel’s wife, Elina, has failed to return on her flight from Rome without telling him. Are the cases related?

Axel travels to Italy in search of his spouse, but finds himself in the middle of a devastating power struggle.

How many lives does a painting worth millions require before it reveals its secrets?



Jyrki Erra, born in 1950, is an architect and an author. He lives and works in Helsinki with his spouse, who is also an architect.

As a counterbalance to his work as an architect and large design projects, in 2012 he published his first novel, a historical thriller named The Pages (Kaunasin sivut). This was followed in 2015 by The Hounds of Berlin (Berliinin ajokoirat), an espionage novel set during the final stages of the Cold War. Inspired by Roman events architecture and the discovery of a lost Caravaggio masterpiece, in 2020 he published Lead White.

“As an author, I like creating settings for my characters using very visual imagery. That anchors the action to reality. In the same way, I want to create a strong image of the main characters for the readers—I want to show them that these are real people.

“All three of my books include an internal narrative with a timeline completely different from the main story. This allows me to examine humanity from a temporal perspective, its fundamental nature, hopes, and passions, which are ultimately unchanging.”

“Fraud is a multifaceted crime that always contains or results in many other crimes. Fraud and deception are present in all my books. Everything else in the story is a consequence of that.”

In addition to short newspaper articles, Jyrki Erra has also written an architecture-focused history of the neighborhood where he lives.

As an amateur bird painter, he seeks his subjects from the north: Northern Norway, Iceland, Svalbard, and Greenland.


FINLAND: Otava (orig.)


2020, Crime & Suspense

Lead White

Jyrki Erra