Waltari, Mika (mēˈkə välˈtärē) [key], 1908–79, Finnish author. Waltari wrote plays, detective stories, and travelogues, but is best known for his novels. After completing his university education in Helsinki he lived for a brief time in Paris, where he wrote Suuri illusioni [the great illusion] (1928), one of the important Finnish novels in the period between the two world wars. He was a leading figure among the "Torchbearers," a literary circle celebrating urban life in the 1920s. From Father to Son (1936), a historical novel, was followed by the series of historical novels that Waltari wrote after World War II. The Egyptian (1945, tr. 1949), set in Egypt c.1000 B.C., is the work that brought him international fame. Other novels include The Etruscan (1955, tr. 1957) and The Roman (1964, tr. 1966). His work has been widely translated, and adapted for motion pictures.