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Kirk Heinrich

The story is written in first person, from the perspective of Julia Leivo. She is a fairly young woman who works as a journalist. All of the events take place after her return from Vilnius, Lithuania where she was interviewing a pair of figure skaters. Since the story immediately jumps into the rising action, I as a reader had a sense of confusion when I began reading. Julia, is also very confused when she starts to receive the mysterious phone calls because she has no idea who is calling and she does not know what it is they want from her. Lehtolainen does an excellent job of heightening the level of suspense by pairing these two techniques. I felt as if I was spending most of my time trying to grasp the current state of things versus spending my time trying to figure out the motives of the caller. Without the diversion tactics, it may have just felt like a simple mystery short story.

Laura Patterson

The story is written from the perspective of Julia Leivo, a journalist. I do not feel this is a typical mystery because it is almost comical. I feel like the story is a joke. Also, the author develops the story well in teh beginning but I felt like the ending came too soon adn was a little bit confusing. I think I would compare it to a children's mystery/short story because it is definately not like a Sherlock Holmes or any other mystery I have ever read. It is very "simple" not a lot of twists to it, but at the same time the ending is surprising. I feel like it was a trick for the reader to figure out.

Deven Rice

How do you feel about the narrator and what are some aspects of the story that make you feel the way you do?

The narrator of the story is Julia Leivo, a journalist. I like her but I also kind of think of her a helpless and guliable. For example, at first when the calls were happening I knew it was a joke. It was so obvious, if someone wanted something from you they would tell you what it was. But Julia on the other hand went and double check her bags and allmost called her neighbor to come over. What could Leo, her neighbor of done that she couldn't do. Also, I couldn't believe this was making her cry and she couldn't even speek well with the person on the phone. I would of yelled at the person calling me and figured out what was going on.

On another note, I liked this story, it was very easy to read and I though it was cool to finally read a modern story. I liked how the author used things like a cell phone, text messaging and even google throughout the story. It was a nice change from things we have been readind and it made it an easier read altogher.

Kyle Wilson

The story is written in first person, as Kirk "the hurricane" Heinrich had already pointed out. The story describes a tense situation between Julia Leivo and a mysterious caller who believes she has an item in her possession that he believes is his. The story I believe does discuss some political issues at the time. From the story, I got the understanding that trafficing drugs into Finland was not very difficult, because when the narrator was describing her experiences going through customs, the security was minimal and the narrator could easily have smuggled drugs into the country without the authorities taking notice. I believe the author was attempting to make a point in the story by expressing how easy it is for an individual to bring drugs into the country from the surrounding Scandinavian and Eastern European countries. In addition, I believe the author is trying to point out through her literature that the government needs to increase security and customs for individuals traveling between countries. Also, I was wondering why the main character, Julia Leivo, seems to be so dependent upon her boyfriend and others. When she first received the phone call, the character was noticably upset and immediately called her boyfriend for help. Why does she do this and why is she so dependent for others to come to her aid and help her?

Overall, I liked the story. I felt that this story had a modern feel to it as well as dealt with modern issues. I found it entertaining when the characters were talking about using their cell phones and text messaging one another. I know one of the major multi-national corporations in Finland is Nokia, and I am sure there is a connection. I was waiting at one point during the story to read an advertisement for Nokia (not really but it wouldn't have been surprising). But overall, I enjoyed the short story. This has been different from past stories and materials we have read through the course and I thought the contempory literature is a much more enjoyable read than the literature written by earlier Finnish authors.

Monique Ohanessian

When I was reading the short story, I didn’t really like the narrator. Her personality was contradictory and it made the story seem almost like a romantic story of female empowerment rather than a mystery. At one point, she seems independent, telling Pauli he couldn’t come on her trip, but then when trouble strikes, she immediately just wants to curl up in his arms. This is understandable, but then she irritated me more when she was describing Pauli. She seemed almost defensive of his looks, saying he sometimes wore contacts so he wouldn’t look like a nerd and that even though he wasn’t much taller than her, he worked out a lot, so that makes it better. She seemed extremely insecure in herself and her relationship.

I didn’t find this story to be like a normal mystery story, because rather than foreshadowing the ending, like most mysteries; it strikes out the possibility of Pauli being behind the prank. It blatantly misleads the reader, which makes the ending less surprising, because the idea has already been brought up and shot down. Most mysteries skirt around the real ending, rather than fully proposing it. Also, due to the shortness of the story, certain aspects seem to come out of nowhere, and seemed to wrap into the story a bit too neatly. How is it that Julia asked Pauli about the foot lotion right after he had put it in there? It’s a bit too convenient. There weren’t as many twists and turns as normal mysteries, and everything seemed to come right in a row. I would have liked to see expansion on some ideas, like what prompted Julia to call the police? There were a lot of parts of the plot that seemed to be skipped over. She seemed to focus a lot on the changing dynamic in relationships, where a man is threatened by his girlfriend’s working, and wants to seem like the strong “savior” in the duo. I felt, however, like this theme was too heavy for such a short story, and that the author should have focused on either developing a full mystery with more twists or on the relationship, because neither element received the full attention it deserved.

Jim Lee

This short story was written in November of 2005 for a crime story festival. This story is told by Julia Leivo who is a journalist in Vilnius. This story is not a typical mystery story because it is almost comical. The story does remind me of the mystery stories I would read when I was younger, it reminded me of a “Goosebumps” type of mystery. I enjoyed this story however, it’s simple style was refreshing.

Alison Bailey

This story was told in first person by Julia Leivo, a graduate student working on her doctoral dissertation and paying for her trip to Vilnius by doing an interview with famous Lithuanian figure skaters. I liked Julia overall, but thought it was interesting that she was so dependent on her boyfriend, Pauli, especially since she has obviously done quite well on her own and one would assume is a very intelligent person in her own right. I thought it was interesting that part of the mystery involved the object the caller was so intent on having returned. I agree with Kyle that it seems like Lehtolainen may be commenting on the ease with which drugs cross the border from Eastern Europe and Russia to Finland and other Nordic countries. This would seem especially appropriate sense Finland shares a border with Russia which has had so much trouble with corruption and policing drug smuggling.

Jim Lee

It is almost class time and it looks like Travis Calhoun hasn't posted yet. Interesting...

Travis Calhoun

Almost right on cue.... Thanks, Jimmy.

As noted previously by Kirk "The Hurricane" Heinrich among others, this story is told via the first person narrative.

While I agree that this is the best way to convey the story and include the thoughts and intentions of the main character, I think that this story would have been interesting if told through the eyes of the boyfriend, Pauli. The single fact that he would already know the end of the story would remove all suspense and provide better clarity. This would provide the point of view of his motives and his thoughts throughout the story.

As far as my liking this story, I enjoyed how it jumped right into the plot and dropped the reader into the events. The lack of initial background information made it more important to read carefully as to ensure the reader retains all details.

Areej Zaitoun

This story is told in first person, by Julia, who is the main character. I really like how this story was written, because there was constant suspense. I couldn't wait to get to the end and find out what would happen. Possibilities of how the "drugs" got into her possession were running through her head the throughout the whole story. The ending was a twist, but I almost knew the boyfriend had some part in it. I didn't think it was a joke though. I think that the fact that she realized she didn't need her boyfriend for everything was the main point, and the mystery was a backdrop for all that.

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