i thought eriksson created some very strong and realistic characters in Princess of Burundi which helped compensate for a storyline that left a few gaps in the plotting and a solution that was slightly fortuitous. The atmosphere created by the death of "Little John" is sympathetically portrayed - unlike many detective books where such tragedies are trivialised - in this book we see the effects on his wife, son and brother. eriksson does go into a lot of background detail about characters but not in an obviously "documentary" way, so we do feel empathy - similar to Mankell's Wallendar books. The procedural stuff isn't overdone and if some of the meetings in the police station seem a little too deep and philosophical to be realistic, it is an interesting analysis of the state of modern sweden. very readable. 3 1/2 stars
on 13 August 2012
This is a slow book but I found it quite enjoyable in a sedate, close-up anatomy of a family kinda way.
It only gets 3 stars for 2 reasons: first the cover summary gives half the plot away and this is really irritating and second because although this is the first book of this author published in the English language, it's not the first in the series.
This is the series:
Den upplyste stigen (1999)
Jorden må rämna (2000)
Prinsessen av Burundi (2002) / The Princess of Burundi, 2006
Nattens grymma stjärnor (2004)/The Cruel Stars of the Night, 2007
Mannen från bergen (2005)/ The Demon of Dakar, 2008
Den Hand Som Skälver (2007)/ The Hand that Trembles, 2011
Svarta lögner, rött blod (2008)
Öppen grav (2009)
Only 4 translations. So readers will miss a lot of information about various characters that they would have read about in the first 3 books.
This inconsistent translation was already annoying with the Jo Nesbo series (the first novel, granted not his best, is only now going to be published in English despite the events contained in the book being constantly referred to in all the others books of the series). What is wrong with publishers? Please translate and publish books in a series in the correct order!!!
on 8 June 2007
I received this as a present from my wife recently and munched through it this week. Although there isn't a character in it as interesting as Inspector Wallender, the writer has plotted an excellent crime story with some likeable characters. There are some interesting musings on modern Sweden and the loss of certains ways of life. I must complain about Amazon's plot synopsis. Ann Lindell is at no point pregnant in this story rather she has already had her kid! It this a hint that the translations of Eriksson's books will be out of sequence like so many of these Scandinavian writers viz Mankell, Jo Nesbo etc?
on 17 March 2009
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. Nonsense. 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 result of it all. It is sombre and dark as almost all of Scandinavian crime fiction, and is rather good as a study of the effects of violent crime on a family. Why was the man killed? There are rumours of a large winnings at poker; although he has been on the straight-and-narrow for years, his brother (to whom he was very close) has continued a life of crime; was it revenge? The book is rather slow to take off, and the solution when it finally arrives is not very satisfying, but the book adds yet another dimension to one's understanding of Swedish life, which is all to the good, what?
"The Princess of Burundi", the name is explained late on in the book, is my introduction to Kjell Eriksson's police procedural novels. Published and translated into English by Ebba Segerberg in 2006, the book did not appear in English until 2011. The translation is a very good one, particularly strong in capturing the interactions and enthusiasm of the team, and the describing the cold Swedish winter, so I will forgive her the lapse of "gal" for girl.
The front page of the novel contains the strap line "Featuring Inspector Ann Lindell", which the story does up to a point. In fact, Lindell is on maternity leave as a single mother and has been temporarily replaced by Ola Haver although as the complex plot develops she finds it hard not to get involved with her colleagues.
John Jonsson, unemployed welder and an expert in African cichlids (I had no idea either), is tortured and brutally murdered, and a cracking police procedural commences which introduces us to the police team, well delineated, and to Johnsson's family and friends.
The investigation involves a team effort and is fully integrated with other stories, professional and personal, that show the need for the painstaking collection of information and the relationship between the police, the crime and wider society.
It emerges that Johnsson shared a secret about the future with his son, Justus, and that he may have come into a large sum of money shortly before he died, through a return to the crime of his teenage years? or through a win at cards?
The author introduces different members of the team in a very steady manner and, bit by bit, we learn about their characteristics, politics and their attitude to the job that they do. Deftly woven into the story is a critique about Sweden's social development over the last 20-30 years. On the basis of this novel, Uppsala appears to be a rather dangerous city. I could not work out whether the involvement of a deranged loner strengthens or weakens the storyline. In any case, the author has created a truly chilling character.
The solution to the crime in the last few pages is rather bloody and leaves one to wonder how the families of the people involved will manage. However, this reflects true life and, in the same manner, not all the loose ends are neatly tied up. On a couple of occasions, Lindell decides to operate outside accepted rules and regulations, and the law. As Christmas approaches, we also see her worrying about how she can manage as a single mother and whether she can mend the difficult relationship that she has with her own mother.
I look forward to reading other novels by Eriksson, at least three are now translated into English and there are quite a few awaiting translation.
on 26 September 2012
Thank you Amazon. Browsing your website introduced this brilliant author to us. The Princess of Burundi was so different in the way it was written, introducing a section of a whole community instead of concentrating on one member of a Homicide team. Luckily my husband doesn't mind the order he reads Eriksson in, so I could start The Princess and then order and read the next three as translated. Now why so few of these Nordic thrillers are translated and then published in the UK, is another story, but thank you Amazon for those that are, being made easily available.
on 13 February 2015
I had not read anything by Kjell Eriksson before - the title lead me to this choice. It is a very slow moving story about the murder of a man everybody seems to like. His brother is a small time crook but 'little John' as the victim is known has never been much involved, being more interested in his tropical fish. It went on and on from there, going nowhere, but I persevered, hoping it would get somewhere soon. It is well written, the characters mostly well described - but this has to be one of the most boring Scandinavian crime stories I have ever read.
on 26 November 2015
Surprised at the more negative reviews as I really enjoyed this , and the others by this writer. Eriksson isn't a flash story teller , there are no grand themes , scary plots nor wild thrills. Just the ordinary man struggling with life and how it hasn't quite reached expectation. Eriksson writes well about his characters , shows a kindness towards them. There is no shouting or even suprises , just mistakes we could all one day make that lead to tragedy.