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Roseanna. Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (A Martin Beck Novel) Paperback – June 1, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Married authors Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo crafted this fine novel, as well as subsequent entries in the Martin Beck series. The style of writing is sometimes dry and always factual, which adds a great deal of realism to the story. At times, the translation is somewhat awkward, particularly in the dialogue, but it doesn't detract much from the overall impact of the book. Vintage Crime/ Black Lizard has re-released the series, and as always they've done a beautiful job. Recommended for fans of police/detective stories - I intend to read more entries in the series.
In this first book, the emphasis is more on introducing the characters and their methods, with very little political or social commentary. The protagonist is the hapless Martin Beck, a homicide detective with the Stockholm police force, trapped in a loveless marriage at home and stultified by inept bueracracy at the workplace. His escape from the tedium of existence is his quiet, unstated, love of police work, particularly his own methodical approach to homicide.
This book introduces us to Beck, and follows his patient investigation into the rape, bludgeoning, and subsequent drowning of an American tourist named Roseanna. It is one of the best in the series; in fact, its probably one of the greatest crime novels ever written. Start with this book and read the rest of the series. You won't be disappointed.
Facts are few and far between for Detective Inspector Martin Beck in "Roseanna". A girl's body is found by a dredger in a lock near Sweden's Lake Vattern. The body is naked and there are no clues as to her identity and the reasons for her death. Martin Beck is called up from Stockholm to assist the local authorities in their investigation. Through a process of time-consuming grunt work and dogged determination Beck and his colleagues try first to find the pieces to this jigsaw puzzle of a mystery. They first have to identify the dead girl. Next they have to identify the crime scene (one of a number of passenger ferries). Finally the have to identify a possible suspect out of more than eighty potential killers.
The pace of the book tracks the pace of the investigation. In the first few months of the case little progress is made. However, this affords the readers the opportunity to get a glimpse of Beck and his colleague's character and personalities as they go about the daily grind of their police work. The pace quickens and the excitement mounts as the jigsaw puzzle pieces begin to fall into place.
Roseanna was the first in a series of ten Martin Beck mysteries written by the Swedish, husband and wife team of Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. The plot and structure of the four Beck mysteries I've read to date do not deviate from the standard format found in any well-written police procedural. However, what sets the Beck mysteries apart is their location and character development. Naturally enough, each book is a small window into Swedish life and culture in the 1960s and 1970s when the books were written.Read more ›
Enter Martin Beck, a chain-smoking homicide detective roughly in his late 30s. Beck is a classic example of the workaholic policeman that one can find in crime fiction and film the world over. He barely speaks to his wife and children, and prefers long hard hours at the office to a home life that offers him nothing. It's such a bleak portrait that the reader is hard-pressed to imagine Beck's marriage (or lungs) surviving the series. The story is a very straightforward, and almost dry procedural account of the case. The first problem the team encounters is in identifying the victim, as she doesn't match any missing persons reports and as part of the route for touring the Gota canal system, Lake Vattern is a high-traffic tourist area, with lots of tour boats coming through. The second hurdle is that once she is identified, months have passed, and tracking down everyone who was on her tour cruise and taking statements proves very difficult.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazingly gripping for a police procedural from the 70s.
Foundational Scandinavian crime thriller.
I have read all of the Martin Beck stories at least three times. This was special deal on Bookbub and I downloaded to read on a long flight. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Billy Lindros
I haven't been actually able to finish the book because the translation is terrible!Published 9 months ago by Juan Carlos Portillo Garcia
I found the characters to be cardboard cut outs. I thought that the author(s), in trying to write a realistic police procedural story made the characters unsympathetic, if not to... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Davidrobin
An enjoyable detective book that kept the reader turning the pages. The detectives were ordinary people that had their own personal problems. A good book to read.Published 16 months ago by ingrownt
This is a crime must-read. So good that Pierre Lemaitre references it in his homage Irene.Published 17 months ago by aglambie