Mystery · Thriller

The Princess of Burundi…a Swedish-style murder mystery

Title: The Princess of Burundi
Kjell Eriksson
Published: Thomas Dunne Books/2006
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Length: 300 pages
Rating: 5.5/10

I read The Princess of Burundi because I loved Let the Right One In and it was recommended to me by as another mystery/thriller by a Swedish author and they were also both translated from Swedish to English by Ebba Segerberg. Better  yet, I traded a book I didn’t want anymore for it on so it was technically free after shipping!

The Princess of Burundi would be a great beach read–it was really fast paced and I finished it in just 2 days. There were 42 chapters, which is a little crazy for a 300-page book, but the chapters are short and help the story move along really quickly. There’s a murder in the first three chapters and from there characters are introduced from the police force, the victims family and the small-town the story is set in and it’s not always easy to know who to suspect and who not to. Eriksson’s detailed/intriguing characterization is partially what makes the book so captivating. On the other hand, there are a ton of characters and many of them have Swedish names like Ola, Berit and Riis, which were totally foreign sounding to me and I kept losing track of who was who on the police force.

Overall, I liked the book. I wasn’t able to figure out “who done it” on my own, which is a testament to Eriksson’s writing, and there were interesting twists in the plot. It definitely held my attention and was a smart novel. To some extent, I credit the book’s successfulness on the creation of “Vincent” as a character–a guy you love to hate, but also see as a victim (just a tiny bit) and you’re not sure just how he’s going to impact the story as you read on. If you read it, you’ll see what I mean!

Going into the novel, I wasn’t sure where the name, The Princess of Burundi, came from, considering this was a thriller about murder around Christmas-time in Sweden? But if you make it to page 126, you’ll find out what the connection is. I also realized by the end of the book that The Princess of Burundi is considered to be a “Ann Lindell Mystery” and is one of three in a series. Lindell is a a female police officer on maternity leave in the novel and isn’t a central character right away, but does become one as the book moves along. I’d read the other books in the series–one is coming out in August and the other seems to be The Princess of Burundi’s predecessor. But I thought it was a great stand-alone read as well.

An easy, interesting read–I recommend!


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