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Picks and Pans Review: The Princess of Burundi

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By Kjell Eriksson



A week before Christmas, a Swedish town is rocked by the murder of John Jonsson, a welder and tropical fish expert (the book’s title is a type of fish in his aquarium). Detectives, led by Ola Haver, who’s having marital troubles, and Ann Lindell, who’s bored with her maternity leave, draw up a list of suspects including the boss who fired Jonsson, a high school acquaintance and the losers at a poker game where Jonsson recently won big. With so many avenues to pursue, Haver and Lindell continually second-guess themselves (while trying to stanch their attraction). The mystery is engrossing, but what sets this import apart is its lefty heart—musings about the causes of violence, and the local teens who need police guidance but must fend for themselves as resources are diverted to solving crimes, which keep piling up like the snow falling on Sweden.