The Cat Did Not Die isn’t really about a cat. Yes, there is a cat in the book, and no, the cat doesn’t die. But it is actually a psychological suspense novel about a woman who commits a violent act and then spends the rest of the book in self-destructive denial. When Beth comes across a mentally challenged man hiding in an old shed, she mistakes his alarmed response for an attack and batters him to death with a nearby axe. When her boyfriend Ulf, a journalist, discovers the body, he is unwillingly drawn into a plot to cover up the death. Soon, their formerly strong relationship begins to deteriorate. Lie piles upon lie as the action moves from coastal Sweden to Tanzania, where Ulf and Beth’s sister Juni, a photographer, are researching the Maasai tribe, with the disturbed Beth in tow. Things do not end well. The Nordic countries have a reputation for chilly noirs, and prize-winning Frimansson upholds that reputation with a vengeance here. Although Beth is a less-than-sympathetic character, the quality of Frimansson’s writing is such that we are drawn into her tortured mind despite ourselves. But all is not doom and gloom in The Cat Did Not Die. As a foil to Beth’s dark imaginings, the author gives us Kaarina, the simple, justice-seeking farm woman who loved the unnamed victim. Kaarina and the titular cat she cares for emerge as beams of light in an otherwise midnight-colored novel.