‘As Red As Blood’, by Salla Simukka

“I’m the secret love child of Hercule Poirot and Lisbeth Salander,” quips Lumikki Andersson, the misfit heroine of this first novel in the “Snow White” trilogy. In fact, 17-year-old Lumikki, named for the fairytale heroine, is basically a younger Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo transposed to Finland: androgynous, solitary and possessed of unusual skills. When she finds wodges of washed euros left to dry in the darkroom at school, her instinct is to walk away; but she finds herself embroiled with the trio of cool kids who have nicked the stash, risking the wrath of crime lord Polar Bear.

Lumikki is fit, resourceful and a mistress of disguise, able to transform her appearance at a moment’s notice. At the climactic set piece she infiltrates Polar Bear’s themed ball dressed as Snow White. With its sex, drugs and violence, the world Lumikki infiltrates is amoral and cynical; a sophisticated tale, then, suavely translated by Owen F Witesman.

As Red As Blood, by Salla Simukka, Hot Key, RRP£7.99, 240 pages

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