Mika Waltari
Publication date
Format info
258 pages

Inspector Palmu’s Mistake

Komisario Palmun erehdys

The second part of Mika Waltari’s much-loved Inspector Palmu trilogy

Bruno Rygsack, a rich, young man who is due to inherit a huge fortune, is found dead following a dinner party. Inspector Palmu doesn’t believe that he slipped on a bar of soap, instead suspecting that he may have been murdered. The more Inspector Palmu probes, the more hostile the party guests become.

It soon emerges that the party was in fact a crime-themed party, and the night in question involved theft, forgery and poison. Inspector Palmu, along with his partners Virta and Detective Kopp, take it upon themselves to solve the mystery, interrogating a wonderfully diverse assortment of characters.

Inspector Palmu’s Mistake is characteristically morbid and philosophical. It is by no means a straightforward whodunit, rather it is a story that takes many twists and turns and keeps readers guessing until the very last page.

Inspector Palmu’s Mistake was turned into a film in 1960 by Matti Kassila. In 2012 it was voted the best Finnish film of all time by the Finnish Film Critics and Yle.

Mika Waltari (1908-1979) is the most popular 20th century Finnish writer who is best known for his magnus opus The Egyptian. Over a career that spanned five decades, Waltari published well over 100 works, of which 200 translations have been made. His works include at least 30 novels, 20 plays and 15 novellas, as well as short stories, poems, screenplays and essays. In 1957 he was appointed to the Academy of Finland, having previously won the state literature award five times. Waltari’s works have been translated into over 40 languages.


1939: Who Murdered Mrs. Skrof?
1940: Inspector Palmu’s Mistake
1962: It is Written in the Stars, Inspector Palmu!

Rights sold

Czech (Odeon 1989 / Euromedia 2003 / Knižní klub 2009), rights reverted
Danish (Carl Aller 1943)
Estonian (Eesti Raamat 1996)
German (A Müller 1943 / SM Bücher 1961)
Greek (Kalentis / 2009), rights reverted
Hungarian (Európa könyvkiadó 1969)
Norwegian (J. W. Cappelens 1942)
Polish (Iskry 1968 / Literackie 2010), rights reverted
Spanish (1953 / GP 1970 / Plaza & Janes 1985)
Swedish (Wahlström & Widstrand 1941)


“The characters in this book are a deliciously diverse bunch… Inspector Palmu is the kind of character who would hit headlines today. He is self-centred and domineering and enjoys free lunches almost as much as he enjoys hitching free lifts. But he is also smart, and he always seems to be one step ahead of his assistants… I recommend you read it.” – Elämä on ihanaa blog