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Book number 4

I finished Kjell Eriksson's The Princess of Burundi a few days ago, but because the past week has had me glued to my computer screen night and day dealing with financial data to be reported to the federal government (my job), I'm just recording it now. 

This book, which won the Swedish Crime Academy Award for Best Crime Novel, introduced a new author to me, and a new setting -- a provincial town near Uppsala, Sweden in the days leading up to Christmas.  It's basically a police procedural (a man fails to come home for dinner at the start of the novel and we soon find out he's been murdered; the novel deals with the resulting investigation), but there's another  element involved as well.  The novel occasionally breaks away from the dogged search for John Jonnson's killer to introduce a peripheral character (or is he really a main one?); a strange, troubled, dangerous man worthy of being a character in a Barbara Vine psychogical thriller.  To start, he's only one of a large cast of characters we meet, and it takes a bit of time to sort out who all these people are and what sorts of  professional and personal relationships exist between them, but once we do, it's satisfying to read on and follow the various threads set out by the author.  In the end, the murder is solved (and this is where I have my only quarrel with the author, and I can't say why without revealing something that shouldn't be revealed *sigh*), but on the whole I definitely recommend the book.  We get a brief look at another place and another culture, and the characters feel like real people you might pass by on the street.  This was Eriksson's second novel (but the first to be translated into English); it looks to be the start of a good series.

Next up:  Rereading Putin's Russia by the murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya for a book group in two weeks.  I'll balance that with a novel as well, but I haven't decided on one yet.