The Princess of Burundi
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Princess of Burundi (Ann Lindell Mystery #4)

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  1,759 ratings  ·  232 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...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 2002)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,750)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...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...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
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...more
Carey Combe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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...more
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
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...more
Feb 01, 2009 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: Anna
After having read and enjoyed The Laughing Policeman earlier in the year (or was it last year?), I was looking forward to reading another Swedish mystery novel. The style of this book and treatment of the characters was so similar to The Laughing Policeman that I actually had to go back to make sure that the books were written by different authors. Both books are set in winter, and have a melancholic tone. The police are surprisingly sensitive to the murders they are investigating, and are shock...more
This Scandinavian murder mystery sadly did not work for me. Whilst the murder plot initially drew me in and I was eager to get myself lost in the wintry atmosphere of the Swedish pre-Christmas period, the many different viewpoints presented in the book made the story too disjointed and confusing for me to really enjoy the experience. Trying to keep track of who was who was exhausting, and made me long for the end of the book - to finally find out who had done it!

One of the protagonists, Ann Lind...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Winner of the Best Swedish Crime Fiction in 2002, The Princess of Burundi is the first novel which introduced Inspector Ann Lindell and the writer Kjell Eriksson to U.S. mystery readers (We have previously reviewed The Cruel Stars of The Night from this author here).

A Brief Summary

Just before Christmas, a jogger finds a dead body in the snow, and the peace in the town of Libro in the Swedish region of Uppsala is shattered. The members of police force soon uncover the identity of the victim: John...more
There ought to be a law against over-dramatised blurbs on books. In Kjell Eriksson's The Princess of Burundi (for some reason, several of this man's crime novels have an African reference in their titles), the blurb talks about a silent killer who holds an entire city in the grip of his terror. Bollocks. Other than the relatives of the man who is killed, nobody in Uppsala really gives a damn. His brother is out for revenge, his lovely wife is ravaged by grief, his son is falling apart as a resul...more
Unfortunately, I found this thriller to be quite disappointing... Translated from the Swedish, this is a police procedural that seems to be the first (or at least the first to be translated into English) of the Ann Liddell series. The series title character, however, hardly appears in the novel, and since she is not officially working the chief murder case, does not feel like the main character at all. And though the murder plot and dramatic confrontation are interesting, they cannot quite redee...more
This was my first Eriksson. This was also my first "time" in Upsala, so I could have done with a map. He's good at creating atmosphere and introducing us to Christmas in Sweden. The season and the heavy snow don't stop murders from being committed. This makes for a strange combination, with the police at work wanting to be home celebrating the season and at home fretting about the cases they are working on. There is almost no joy anywhere, which makes for heavy reading betimes.
I found this book hard to get through. It begins with a murder and ends with the probable solution, but I found the path between the two quite long and convoluted. There's a side plot that's kind of a red herring, but it really doesn't work well. It was sometimes hard to keep the multiple minor characters straight. It is the typical Scandinavian mystery in most ways - dark and cold - but it just didn't grab me as most do. This is the second of his books that I've read and I doubt I'll try anothe...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 91 92 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Scandinavian Crim...: A Look at The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson 1 6 Feb 24, 2012 09:03PM  
  • The Fourth Man
  • Frozen Tracks (Inspector Winter, #5)
  • The Inner Circle (Anders Knutas, #3)
  • The Black Path (Rebecka Martinsson, #3)
  • Dregs (William Wisting #6)
  • The Torso (Inspector Huss #3)
  • Missing
  • Münsters Fall (Inspector Van Veeteren #6)
  • Black Seconds (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #6)
  • Hypothermia (Inspector Erlendur #8)
  • Midvinterblod
  • Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End (The Fall of the Welfare State, #1)
  • My Soul to Take
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...
The Cruel Stars of the Night (Ann Lindell, #6) The Hand That Trembles (Ann Lindell, #8) The Demon of Dakar (Ann Lindell, #7) Black Lies, Red Blood (Ann Lindell Mystery #9) Kjell

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…