This book was first published in Sweden in 1993 with the English translation appearing in 1998. According to the Inspector Wallander website thirteen books in this series have been published in Sweden between 1991 and 2009 but not all have been translated into English. The white lioness is number three in the series. A number of films and television series in Swedish have been produced. The BBC has also produced three series of television productions based on the books and shown on SBS.
Inspector Wallander lives and works in Ystad in southern Sweden. In the first chapters of The white lioness, Wallander and his team are alerted to the disappearance of a female real estate agent. While looking for her a house and surrounding buildings explode and in the ruins are found the finger of a black man, the remains of a Russian made radio transmitter and the but of a pistol. Shortly afterwards the woman's body us also found in a well. Events in South Africa at the end of Apartheid become interwoven with the hunt for the murderer of the Young Swedish woman as investigators uncover a plot to assassinate a major South African political figure.
Although 550 + pages, this is a fast moving story which makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. As well as the plot, however, a major feature of the book is the development of the flawed character of Wallander as he endeavours to work out the connections between seemingly unconnected events, catch the murderer and foil the assassination. His health, both physical and mental, is jeopardised as depression sets in after killing a man and the need to save his daughter when she is imprisoned.