The Ice Princess Book Review
Updated: Jun 16
Welcome to another Crawford’s Mysteries and More! Book Club Novel Review. Novels read in book club will fall into the following categories: Detective (crime is solved by a detective/police officer), Cozy (no violence), Caper (told from the criminal’s POV), and More (not strictly a mystery)! Mysteries will be reviewed based upon the crime taking place, the intrigue of the information that gets revealed, the relative success of red herrings, and the satisfaction of the ending.
The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg is a Detective Mystery Novel. It is the first novel in her Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström 10-book series, set in her hometown of Fjällbacka, Sweden, Läckberg, and translated from her native Swedish into English.
From the first page, Läckberg isolates you in this tiny, frozen town, swirling you into the mystery of why Alex, the bright light of Fjällbacka, would kill herself. Your protagonist is Erica who has returned home to take care of her childhood home after her parents were abruptly killed in a car wreck (wouldn’t that be a murder mystery you’d like to read?). All she wants to do is pack up their things and get back to her life. She’s also dealing with what to do about the abusive husband of her little sister (again, that would be a murder mystery I’d be interested in). Instead, she finds herself falling for her old playmate Patrik, the local detective, and becoming embroiled in the murder of her elementary school best friend, Alex.
What makes this story feel different are how normal all the characters are. Läckberg does a great job of bringing the town personalities to life. Plus, she gives us two pretty ordinary protagonists which makes it easy to identify with them and follow their train of thought. Erica shouldn’t be involved in the case since she’s not a detective, and Patrik is newer on the force and doesn’t bring the typical cop bravado we’re use to seeing in other mystery novels (but which Läckberg gives us in spades in the police chief). The suicide-turned-mystery has been done before, but Läckberg gives us something new by having us unravel Alex’s past. Läckberg gives us a story that keeps the pages turning and keeps us up at night to finish.
I think you can tell this is Läckberg’s first story in that she has a lot of characters with unique backstories that were all vying for our attention. While I was intrigued each time Läckberg revealed information, I also felt like I got the crumbs and she'd save the cookie for 15 pages later. I also thought her red herrings felt less like bright lights shining in my eyes so I couldn’t see where I was going and more like characters that I forgot about until the end. The killer wasn’t who I expected, and the twist at the climax made me go back and reread to see what I had missed. Läckberg is definitely playing with the traditional mystery format while giving us a fresh take on who would be the killer, what the motive is, and POV of the story. All told, I'd give the ending a 7/10.
Pick up your copy soon. The Ice Princess is Crawford's Books’ July Book Club pick. Grab your copy today and then join the virtual meeting on July 8, from 6:30-7:30pm.
Interested in what the Mysteries and More Book Club is reading? Check out past reviews and what’s on the horizon: 1/14 Magpie Murders, 2/11 The Henna Artist, 3/11 Mr. Mercedes, 4/8 And Justice There is None, 5/13 The Song of Achilles, 6/10 The Big Sleep, 7/8 The Ice Princess, 8/12 The Devil and the Dark Water, 9/9 A Duty to the Dead, 10/14 Long Bright River, 11/11 The Guest List, 12/ 9 American Dirt