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The Princess of Burundi (Ann Lindell Mystery #4)

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  2,339 ratings  ·  278 reviews
A runaway bestseller in Sweden, The Princess of Burundi introduces Inspector Ann Lindell to U.S. mystery readers.

When a jogger finds a dead body in the snow, the members of Sweden's Uppsala police force uncover a victim with an unsettling history. John Jonsson, known to everyone as Little John, was a respectable family man and a local expert on tropical fish. But he had be
ebook, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 2002)
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Beth F.
I finished this book yesterday and initially gave it three stars. I’m downgrading it to two after thinking about it and formulating my reaction into words.

This book should have been a very fast read. It was only 300 pages. The writing style was not pea soupy. And every time I managed to sit down and pick it up, I tore through the pages rather quickly. Also I really did want to know whodunit. So why did it take me over a week to finish this blasted thing?

Two reasons: 1) too many viewpoints and 2
First, a note to people reading the American edition:

Initially, you might think that The Princess of Burundi is a Fargoesque tale about a violent murder and a plucky, preggers female detective. You might think that because that's what the description says. Apparently, someone pissed off their editorial intern, though, because very little in the description is factually accurate.

So, just to be clear:

No, the dead man's troubled past doesn't really "catch up with him." It's sort of the point, but
Sep 26, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conrad Black
I think there are more people writing Swedish police procedurals now than there are actual Swedish people living in Sweden, and about 75% of these books (including this one) win awards. Half of them have ties to Africa: either an African character, or an African setting, or just some word like "Burundi" thrown into the title. (The princess of Burundi refers to a tropical fish, as well as to one of the Swedish characters.) Really the only difference between this, and a Wallander, is that this is ...more
This is an entertaining mystery that will keep you guessing. At the end, once you are on to the killer you are still guessing about how the author will wrap it up.

The story is told in a series of vignettes each focusing on a character who is associated with the deceased. The format is perfect for a newspaper serial or a TV mini-series.

The personalities are described such that you understand and care about them as they approach Christmas in this town in Sweden. Most of those who know the victim h
I probably should have read the reviews before I started.

The introduction was immediately compelling, but it went down hill from there. While the characters were interesting, the back story was confusing. I suspect that part of the problem is that this isn't really the first book in the series--just the first that has been translated. As a result you just have to accept that there is no apparent reason for some of angst.

The endless ruminations on the deteriorating state of Swedish society quick
I love moody, dark, character-driven mystery/thriller novels, especially those set outside the US, so this sounded right up my alley. Upon finishing it, though, I had absolutely no idea what all those positive reviews on the back cover were talking about.

As a mystery, this novel was profoundly disappointing. Of the two main plots (the murder of a family man with a shady past and a creepy loner's descent into violent psychosis), one is wrapped up after an agonizingly drawn-out investigation with
When I picked this book to read, I was under the impression that it was the first in a series featuring female police inspector Ann Lindell of Uppsala, Sweden. It soon became apparent that it was not the first. Evidently, it is actually the fourth in the series but was the first to be translated into English.

Never mind. The author actually does a good job of providing the backstories of his main characters, so I did not feel as lost as I might have.

This is a police procedural, much in the vein o
Firstly, this book has the most incompetent police squad I have ever encountered in any crime novel I have read. It is a wonder even coffee is made in that workplace.

Secondly, I could not connect with any of the characters. Actually, that's a lie, I did quite like the friendly Finnish man, even though he is a walking stereotype ('he sounds like one of the Moomins!'). Ann Lindell comes across to be unlikeable and a very closed person, which isn't great considering she's the heroine. The dialogue
Not a bad start to a series, but neither was it engrossing. The main series protagonist Ann Lindell isn't truly part of the investigation. She is currently on maternity leave, having had another man's baby.
It starts with the brutal of John "Little John" Jonsson who had been stabbed to death, and had fingers cut off. John had hardly been a model citizen. he and his brother Lennart had been petty criminals, with Lennart being the worse of the two. But John had found a new passion in life fish, ma
Donal Lyons
It's an exaggeration to say I read this. I started it with interest, but soon began skipping for two reasons, poor plot and poor translation. It's hard to see why this particular book was translated at all, it's the fourth of a series and has a large cast of featureless characters that perhaps we're supposed to know from the earlier books.

It's also hard to fathom how Ebba Segerberg has been commissioned for 7+ translations:

I found she also translated a He
We read this book out loud - Will, Louise ( and I on a long road trip. Reading about the snowy Christmas in Sweden served to cool us down in the hot August weather. In true Agatha Christie fashion, there are lots of characters, any one of which has a motive for the crime. Sifting through the background information and keeping track of clues led us to many fun hours of speculation. I agree with Louise's review, including that the ending is somewhat unsatis ...more
Not as great a read as I had hoped. I would probably give it a 21/2 if I could but made it a 3 as inspite of it not being the best read, I couldn't put it down...definitely engages you. The mood was well set--I could feel the streets and snow of Sweden, some of the characters were intriguing but it meandered here and there. The police department never quite gelled for me--there were so many personalities working on solving the crime that no one really stood out as a character to root for. The sa ...more
One of the things I love most about reading is the way it expands your horizons. For example, I picked up this crime novel in my local Oxfam bookshop. The title intrigued me,the reviews were impressive, I like crime novels and my money will help people in need. I was happy before I even began to read it!

I was charmed by the characters and gripped by the plot. There are two crimes to be solved and we are kept guessing about whether or not they are linked. The crime unit is made up of a wonderful
The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson is an interesting and well-plotted mystery featuring Swedish detectives Ann Lindell and Ola Haver. They work together to solve the mystery of who tortured and murdered John Harald Jonsson, an out of work welder and tropical fish enthusiast. As like many other Scandinavian mysteries, the atmosphere of the country and thoughts of the characters are as important as any action. I like this style but felt this novel lost momentum part way through. However, th ...more
Fran Murphy
Another addition to the shelf of Scandi-noir, The Princess of Burundi sees Swedish Inspector Ann Lindell, currently enduring maternity leave, poke her nose into her colleagues' murder case to relieve her boredom. Some interesting plot twists and characters, but in general I found there was too much going on. Also, my pet hate is when an author sometimes refers to a character by their first name, and sometimes by their last name ! I have to keep checking who is who, especially when there are seve ...more
Richard Katz
This book by Kjell Eriksson won the Swedish Crime Academy Award for Best Crime Novel. What a crock. I was very disappointed and nearly gave it one star. First, the translation is weak and it reads like a translated book. Second, only one or two characters - good and bad - actually have enough depth to make you empathize with them. Finally, even the crime is solved by a whimper not a bang. The sum of three in-credible clues basically allow the police to accidentally collar the perp! I don't know ...more
Chris Kelsey
I never write reviews for Goodreads, but I'll make an exception for this book, given the several inexplicably negative reviews below. In my opinion, this is as fine an example of Nordic Noir as one will find, and that includes the works of Wahloo/Sjowall, Nesbo, and Mankell. Eriksson's plotting is serpentine yet plausible and his storytelling skills superb. Where he particularly excels, however, is in the area of characterization, His characters are finely and distinctively drawn, emotionally co ...more

"Życie było zbiorem przypadkowych okoliczności i zawiedzionych nadziei…"

Księżniczka z Burundi – wyjątkowo piękna rybka, będąca cennym okazem dla niejednego miłośnika akwarystyki. Hodować można ją jedynie w dużych zbiornikach wodnych, a taki miał właśnie John Jonsson, główny „nieżywy” bohater książki Kjella Erikssona.

"Grudzień. Czas ciemności." Ciągle osypujący Uppsalę śnieg nikogo nie dziwi. Czego oczekiwać w środku zimy, zwłaszcza na kilka dni przed Świętami Bożego Narodzenia? Wbrew pozorom wyg
Ended up with this book when I couldn't find "Shadow Tag." Eriksson is my newest Scandinavian mystery find. His phrasing requires a bit of concentration; but this book is as much a novel as a mystery. Eriksson chose to use multiple points of view to tell his story. He is realistic and knowledgeable about all his characters, male, female, rich, poor, suffering, rich or barely surviving.

The ending is sudden, but the murderer is a surprise.
OK, so I read many of the other reviews about this book before I started to read it. If I had taken any notice, I wouldn't have even turned the first page. I'm glad that I took no notice and went with my liking for dark Scandinavian novels.
So, some people don't like the way a different viewpoint is taken virtually at every chapter and sometimes even within the chapter - you get used to this style - it's different - the plot moves on. Others think the plot doesn't hang together - really? I got it
Carey Combe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judith Baller-Fabian
I like this author and have ordered another of his books. I happen to enjoy foreign authors and have only found one or two I didn't like.
It is very rare I find any translation errors and in this one I found one where the word burnt was used instead of the past tense burned.
"His lungs burnt." It reminds me how difficult the English language really is. In this book, a man has been murdered just before Christmas and his wife and son are left without know why. The Uppsala police force has been calle
I have a confession to make: I often buy books at thrift stores for $1. Usually it works out well, but this was a dud. Took me forever to get through this little guy. Not a good thing for a supposed 'fast paced crime novel'. I was mostly either bored or overwhelmed by the amount of characters to remember. And because I was so slow reading it I kept forgetting who anyone was (did not help the names were Swedish). The character development was pathetic. HOWEVER, I realized 2 chapters from the end ...more
DNF. Really wanted to like this book so I could add a new-to-me Scandinavian crime writer to my list of authors. But in spite of reading half of this book, I just found that I didn't care much about any of the characters. I wonder if part of the problem may be that there seems to be no clearly defined protagonist, as the book meanders from one perspective to another. I don't mind books that present different points of view, but there just doesn't seem to be a central consciousness here, and whil ...more
Joan Winnek
This detective story had no likeable characters, many inexplicable events, and some absurd details, such as the beheading of the fish.
This was the first Eriksson book I have read. First, I'd like to note that the synopsis posted here is inaccurate - Lindell has had her child; he is not unborn. I liked the story and the police and criminal characters, and the portrait of modern Sweden. I like the Henning Mankell books a lot and this one was almost as good. Mankell is a better writer, or perhaps has a better translator, and the character of Kurt Wallender as he develops over several books is absorbing. I will read more of the Li ...more
Toni Osborne
Book1 in English translated from book4 in the Ann Lindell series

This crime story spins a tight and mysterious plot. The main thread begins with a jogger on his morning run finding the mutilated body of John Jonsson, whose hobby is tropical fish and is famous for his aquarium.

The readers are introduced to this story without the background of the previous novels. With a cold start we find out that the main character Ann Lindell is now on maternity leave but unable to distance herself from work, sh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Oakes
Set in Uppsala, Sweden, as the story opens, the winter weather is terrible, and a son awaits the return of his father, John Harald Jonsson. However, John Jonsson isn't coming home that night, or any other night because he's been murdered. Not only that, but there is evidence that John has been tortured. His wife, Berit, can't think of anyone that would want to hurt him let alone want him dead. Enter the police department, with the investigation being led by Ola Haver, who has some personal issue ...more
I don't usually read a lot of crime fiction but I borrowed this one from a friend, intrigued by the title and the snowy Swedish woods on the cover. A body is found, a bunch of people try to figure out why he was killed. It's okay. I think the best part of this book is its attempt to characterize all the members of the police department looking into the murder, as well as their relationships with each other. I assume the approach has borne fruit in later books by Eriksson, but I probably will not ...more
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Scandinavian Crim...: A Look at The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson 1 11 Feb 24, 2012 09:03PM  
  • The Inner Circle (Anders Knutas, #3)
  • The Torso (Inspector Huss #3)
  • Sun and Shadow (Inspector Winter, #3)
  • Dregs (William Wisting #6)
  • The Black Path (Rebecka Martinsson, #3)
  • The Fourth Man
  • Under the Snow
  • The Return (Inspector Van Veeteren #3)
  • Hypothermia (Inspector Erlendur #8)
  • Shame
  • Spring Tide
  • Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End (The Fall of the Welfare State, #1)
  • Black Seconds (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #6)
  • The Abominable Man (Martin Beck #7)
Karl Stig Kjell Eriksson is a Swedish crime-writer, author of the novels The Princess of Burundi and The Cruel Stars of the Night, the former of which was awarded the Swedish Crime Writers' Academy Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2002. They have both recently been translated into English by Ebba Segerberg.

* Ann Lindell Mystery
More about Kjell Eriksson...

Other Books in the Series

Ann Lindell Mystery (10 books)
  • Den upplysta stigen
  • Jorden må rämna
  • Il giardino di pietra
  • Nachtschwalbe
  • The Cruel Stars of the Night (Ann Lindell, #6)
  • The Demon of Dakar (Ann Lindell, #7)
  • The Hand That Trembles (Ann Lindell, #8)
  • Black Lies, Red Blood (Ann Lindell Mystery #9)
  • Open Grave (Inspector Ann Lindell)

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“Death comes to us all, that is the only thing we can be certain of. It makes no difference whether it is a thief in a garbage dump or a policeman in the line of duty. When someone dies at the hands of another, the pain for the survivors is the same.” 3 likes
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