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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Books – Rosanna – The Martin Beck Series – Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo

Star rating – 8/10

In my current mourning for Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy phase, having recently devoured all three Lisbeth Salander adventures, and wanting to sample some more Swedish crime writing, I was happy to come across a series that is not new but that I had never encountered before. Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo were a creative husband and wife writing partnership, taking turns at each chapter, who started off this ten book series about Detective Inspector Martin Beck in 1965.

Beck shows the ineptitude for family life and personal relationships, and the not unrelated inability to switch off from work that crime aficionados like myself love so much in our detectives. The pace of this investigation into the murder of a young woman dredged from a lake is refreshingly of its time, with the investigation delayed until telegrams can be sent and received and photos mailed.

The investigation really gets under Beck’s skin, and with hardly any leads to go on, he is reluctant to give up on the victim. With his dogged determination, and a few lucky breaks along the way, progress is slowly made, and the sharply written story is very readable and enjoyable.

Not quite up to the standard of Larsson (will anything ever be again?) this first in the series definitely left me wanting to read more, and to get to know the deep thinking and obviously complex Beck more through the following instalments.

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