When the King Dies

Reading material

Finnish edition
English synopsis.
English sample coming in 1st of July!

Original title: Kun kuningas kuolee

Published: 2020 May

Publisher: Otava

Class/genre: Crime & Thriller

Pages: 495

Opening of a new detective series!

Saana has been fired from her job as a click-bait journalist, so she decides to spend a summer with her aunt in a small-town Hartola. It sounds like a perfect opportunity to take it easy and recover. But when Saana begins to dig into a case of a teenage girl who died 30 years earlier, the peace of the small town is shaken.

Meanwhile in Helsinki a fire-marked body is be found at Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, and crime investigator Jan Leino and his team have a new case in their hands. However, the investigation isn’t going anywhere, and Jan fears that the murder at King’s Gate a is just the beginning…

Saana and Jan continue working on their own cases until their paths cross for more than one reason.

Rights sold:

FINLAND (orig.): Otava
ESTONIA: Varrak (2-book-deal)
GERMANY: Piper Verlag (2-book-deal)
NETHERLANDS: Cargo/De Bezige Bij (2-book-deal)
NORWAY: Cappelen Damm (2-book-deal)
SWEDEN: Bokfabriken (2-book-deal)

”You know an excellent crime novel when you have finished it and immediately would love to start again. Also, you cannot wait to read the next parts of the series.
What really happened? There is a body, even two, there is a forgotten story, might be a revenge, a detective and all other things necessary for a perfect crime novel. The solution becomes more complicated and new hints will give the reader more to ponder about.
Another strength of this title is the fact that it takes place in two different timelines, that the author knows her background and history that’s nice to imbibe. The modern times are also present as is a drug lord, but for a change not in a gruesome Nordic Noir way.”

– Piret Saluri, translator of Finnish literature, Estonia


”A star is born!”

– Ilta-Sanomat newspaper


”Backman keeps the multiple storylines effortlessly together and builds an entertaining summery detective story. – – When the King Dies is the beginning of a new series, and it is flowy, exciting and skillfully written novel that leaves you wanting for more.”

– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, May 15th 2020


“I devoured Elina Backman’s debut novel, hoping that it never ends!”

Turun Sanomat newspaper 9.6.


“Elina Backman’s debut works like a crime novel should: it separates you from normal life and forces you to try to solve the slowly unwinding case. Excellent literary snack!”

Gloria magazine


”When the King Dies shows that Backman knows her genre very well. The plot moves on and the reader gets just enough clues to  keep them guessing whether they will take them closer to solving the case or are they just a decoy.”

Tuijata. Kulttuuripohdintoja. Blog


”When the King Dies is pleasurable to read. The plot is full of surprises, a lot is going on, and there’s a great cast of characters. I thought more than once that I had guessed the ending, but I was wrong each time. The end comes with a surprise!”

– Kirjojen kuisketta blog


“When The King dies is an excellent summer crime. Short chapters, great characters, suspense, a dash of romance and the wonderful Finnish summer! Entertaining beginning of a series! This hooked me up completely. 5/5 stars!”

Kassukan lukupäiväkirja blog


“The plot and references to kings and kingdoms are exciting, and the summery town of Hartola brings a nice atmosphere to the story. The setting with a professional police and an amateur detective works very well! Great choice for those who look for a summery crime novel.”

Kirsin book club blog


YLE public broadcast recommends: When the King Dies by Elina Backman

Yle’s book podcast 5.6.2020


“Great mix of romance, crime, normal life and mysteries! It is entertaining, brain-teasing and suspenseful! Is this a future crime queen?!”

Sanapari blog


When the King Dies is a pleasure to read / listen. Plot is smart and full of surprises. Many times I thought I guessed the ending, but I was wrong each time. – – I hope I don’t have to wait too long for the next book!”

Visit Hartola website


“Wow, DEFINITELY the most delicious detective novel of this spring has been published!”

Between the lines blog




Elina Backman

Elina Backman, 37, is a media & marketing professional living in Helsinki, in an old wooden 1920 house with a family of 2 kids and a husband. Elina loves books (all sorts), travelling, cycling and is a host of a Book & Wine Club. She is a creative soul with a commercial mind, and her goal is to find readers globally – her dream is a Netflix series based on her novels.

Her debut novel When the King Dies was published in May 2020 and has immediately gained an enormous amount of attention from the Finnish media, including a praising review by the biggest daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.


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