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“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