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175 pages

The Sweet Poison Cook

Suloinen myrkynkeittäjä

A hilarious crime novel about an unexpected killer who dresses in old lace and spikes drinks with arsenic.

Linnea Ravaska lives on a small patch of land in the remote village of Harmisto. From the outside, it looks perfect: a red cottage surrounded by blooming roses and cats roaming around in the garden. But today it’s pension day, and Linnea is nervous.

Like clockwork, once a month a group of out-of-control, loud-mouthed louts, who are led by Linnea’s foster son Kauko, show up and demand a chunk of her pension. Only this time, it’s even worse than normal: Linnea is coerced into signing an unfair will and testament.

This is the start of a fierce battle between the gang of young tearaways and a frail old lady. Just in case worst comes to worst, Linnea prepares a glass filled with a deadly poison. And eventually the iron-willed Linnea proves exactly what a sweet poison cook is really capable of.

The Sweet Poison Cook was adapted for film in France in 2014 (dir. Bernard Stora). It was also adapted for a TV series in Finland in 2002 (dir. Ere Kokkonen).

Arto Paasilinna (1942-2018) is the most renowned contemporary Finnish author, having published 35 novels and countless other works during his lifetime. In Finland, he has been one of the most popular authors since the 1970s. His most famous books include The Year of the Hare, The Howling Miller, A Charming Mass Suicide and The Forest of Hanged Foxes. Many of Paasilinna’s books have been turned into feature films and plays and adapted to comic books. His books have sold over 8 million copies worldwide, with publishers in several countries buying out more than 15 titles each. Paasilinna’s works have been translated into over 40 languages.


Finnish PDF
Slovakian translation

Rights sold

Czech (Hejkal)*
Dutch (Wereldbibliotheek)*
French (Denoël)
German (Lübbe)
Icelandic (Skrudda)
Italian (Iperborea)
Korean (SOL)*
Latvian (Petergailis)
Lithuanian (Pasvired Pasaulis)*
Norwegian (Aschehoug)
Polish (Kojro)
Russian (Olga Morozova)*
Slovakian (Slovart)
Slovenian (Mladinska Knjiga)*
Spanish (Anagrama)
Swedish (Brombergs)*
*rights reverted

Prizes and nominations

2003, Prix Chronos des Lyceens, France


“I remember being fascinated by the storyline: An endearing widow… concocts a poison intended for herself and accidently ends up not only killing her own relatives, but also her own friends.” – Yle