Ian Colford’s Reviews > The Man Who Died

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The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen

Read in August 2018

3 of 5 stars

In the opening chapter of this clever, offbeat, action-packed mystery by Finnish author Antti Tuomainen, Jaakko Kaunismaa learns that he is dying, his bodily functions slowing shutting down due to long-term poisoning. Jaakko, who has attained success in the mushroom harvesting and distribution industry, with his business headquarters located in picturesque Hamina, Finland, is married to beautiful Taina, who also works for his company. After getting the bad news from his doctor, Jaakko heads home, intending to break it to his wife, but finds himself revising his plans on the fly when he walks in (and quickly out again without being seen) on Taina having sex with the mushroom company’s young truck driver Petri. A lesser man might crumble beneath the weight of two betrayals in the space of one lunch hour, but Jaakko is both shrewd and resourceful and soldiers on, seeking to find out who is poisoning him and why, and to get some measure of revenge against Taina and her lover. To make matters even more challenging, a rival mushroom company has set up shop just down the street, and Jaakko finds himself in immediate and constant conflict with the three men in charge of this firm, with their shadowy motives and apparently murderous intent. Tuomainen’s novel follows Jaakko as he deals with threats that crop up on multiple fronts, comes under suspicion for murder, and navigates a cautious path around those who can’t be trusted in his search for allies. The novel offers an intriguing mystery in an attractive setting while making wry, and occasionally wise, observations on life, death, friendship and love. In The Man Who Died, Antti Tuomainen takes the reader on an amusing and often hilarious ride that keeps us guessing until the very end.