Mika Waltari
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Who Murdered Mrs. Skrof?

Kuka murhasi rouva Skrofin?

Mrs. Skrof, a wealthy and hated woman belonging to a religious sect, is found dead in her apartment. She died apparently from inhaling gas leaking from her cooker while under the influence of sleep-medication. Several details of the case lead Inspector Palmu to suspect that she was murdered, including a crooked soup pot, her unusually strong sleeping pills and the fact that her dog had been killed by breaking its neck.

The novel has been turned into an iconic fim directed by Matti Kassila and entitled  Gas, Inspector Palmu (Kaasua, komisario Palmu) in 1969.

Prizes, Awards

Nordic Detective novel competition winner 1939
Nominated as the Best Finnish Detective novel (Finnish Whodunnit Society), 2004


Presentation of the Inspector Palmu series

Mr Palmu, a gruff, sixty-year-old inspector in the Helsinki Police Department, is the hero of Waltari’s murder mysteries Who murdered Mrs Skrof? (Kuka murhasi Rouva Skrofin?, 1939), Inspector Palmu’s Mistake (Komisario Palmun erehdys, 1940) and It is Written in the Stars, Inspector Palmu! (Tähdet kertovat, Komisario Palmu!, 1962). Inspector Palmu is a man of integrity, although susceptible to the lure of teary-eyed ladies. The imbalanced and amusing relationship between him and his assistant echoes that most famous detective tandem, Sherlock Holmes and Watson.

The Palmu murder mysteries represent one of the many facets of Waltari’s endless creativity. The Inspector Palmu novels have been adapted to critically acclaimed feature films, all of which have become classics that almost every Finn has seen at least once. Classy but down-to-earth, the Palmu mysteries are yet more proof of Waltari’s mastery of language. One of Mika Waltari’s most popular protagonists, Inspector Palmu is the quintessential Finnish policeman: thorough, individualistic and fair. He sees through suspicious behaviour, but he has also the ability to spot the naturally innocent.


Published in

Bulgarian (Koj ubi gospoza Skrof?)
Danish (Hven myrdede fru Kroll?, 1939)
Czech (Kdo zavraždil paní Skrofovou?, 1941)
Dutch (Wie vermoordde Mevrouw Kroll?, 1940)
Estonian (Kes tappis proua Skrofi?, 1940)
French (Qui a tué madame Skrof?, 1952)
German (Die Blutspur, 1963)
Greek (Ποιος σκότωσε την κυρία Σκρουφ?, 2006)
Hungarian (A cselszövók, 1941)
Icelandic (Hver myrti frú Kroll?, 1939)
Italian (Chi ha ucciso la signora Skrof?, 1943)
Norwegian (Hvem myrdet fru Kroll?, 1939)
Polish (Krwawy ślad, 1968)
Spanish (¿Quién mató a la señora Skrof?, 1958)
Swdedish (Vem mördade fru Kroll?, 1939)