According to Per Wahloo, the ten books he wrote with his wife, Maj Sjowall, about Inspector Martin Beck were intended to be a left-wing assault on the sacred cows of Swedish society. They are also, however, entertaining tales of mystery that allow non-Swedes to slip under the skin of another culture while having a frighteningly good time. In this first book of the series, the body of a young woman is discovered as a dredger digs a canal. There seems to be little chance of Beck identifying the woman, let alone discovering who killed her. But by combining time-honored methods of police procedure with a few local twists, Beck manages to do just that.
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'They changed the genre. Whoever is writing crime fiction after these novels is inspired by them in one way or another.' Henning Mankell 'If you haven't read Sjowall/Wahloo, start now.' Sunday Telegraph 'Pick up one book...and you become unhinged. You want to block out a week of your life, lie to your boss, and stay in bed, gorging on one after another.' Observer 'The writing is elegant and surprisingly humorous - if you haven't come across Beck before, you're in for a treat.' Guardian