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Mika Waltari

Inspector Palmu

photo: Finlandia-Arkisto Oy

dustjacket design: Eeli Jaatinen
September 5, 2008
se-tenant pair on souvenir sheet
perf 14 × 13½

Humility - passion

The miniature stamp sheet dedicated to Mika Waltari (1908-1979) has two €0.80 stamps. One bears a black-and-white photograph of the writer and the words Nöyryys - intohimo (Humility - passion). The other shows a cover illustration by graphic artist Eeli Jaatinen for a detective novel published in 1940 Komisario Palmun erehdys (Inspector Palmu’s Mistake. The miniature sheet was designed by Päivi Vainionpää.

Waltari is among the foremost Finnish authors of the 20th century. His extensive oeuvre includes novels and poetry, fairy stories and prose, as well as travelogues, plays and film scripts. He made his international breakthrough with his novel The Egyptian. A major film of its time was made of the book in Hollywood in 1954. The Egyptian and Inspector Palmu’s Mistake have often won polls of favourite books in Finland, most recently this year. A stamp of The Egyptian was issued in 1997 [Scott 1056, shown] and another of Waltari’s comic strip Kieku ja Kaiku was issued in 1996 [Scott 1021].

Works by Waltari have so far been translated into 41 languages. Of these, 36 are listed in the margins of the miniature sheet.

Finnish Post

Inspector Palmu

The lovable but extremely grouchy Inspector Frans J. Palmu of the Helsinki Police Department made his first appearance in 1939 in Kuka murhasi rouva Skrofin? (Who Killed Mrs. Skrof?), and the success of this led to two other novels and - perhaps even more significantly - to a quartet of very popular films from the 1960s. The name and character of Inspector Palmu (as played by the late Joel Rinne) is instantly recognisable to all but the youngest Finns, with his trademark sarcasm, cigar, bowler hat, and muffler.

Helsingin Sanomat 23.3.2006
(translator's note)

Inspector Palmu clip on YouTube

novelfilmtranslation / English title
Kuka murhasi Rouva Skrofin? (1939)Kaasua, komisario Palmu! (1961)Who Killed Mrs. Skrof?; Gas, Inspector Palmu!
Komisario Palmun erehdys (1940)Komisario Palmun erehdys (1960)Inspector Palmu's Error; Mysterious Case of the Rygseck Murders)
Tähdet kertovat, komisario Palmu (1962)Tähdet kertovat, komisario Palmu. (1962)It Is Written in the Stars, Inspector Palmu; The Stars Will Tell, Inspector Palmu
(not Waltari - screenplay by Director Matti Kassila)Vodkaa, komisario Palmu (1969)Vodka, Mr. Palmu

Mika Waltari with Petteri
photo source — WSOY kuva-arkisto