I saw this series recommended in a crime blog I subscribe to, The Rap Sheet. where I get a lot of good information about TV and film and ideas for reading material covering the crime genre. The series was described as one of the best crime series ever written. Well I had to take a look!
Have to say I did enjoy this book, Roseanna, the first in the Martin Beck series, but it's not exactly easy to say why. The story was not particularly riveting and the tone and mood were rather bleak. However the writing was clear and succinct, the characters were interesting and I liked the dogged approach of Martin Beck, the Stockholm detective and main character.
The authors Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo were both Swedish journalists and communists; their books were apparently intended to be an assault on Swedish society. The Sweden they describe in the novels isn't what my image of Sweden is like however I didn't feel that it affected my interest in the novels.
The novels are set in the sixties, in the days before the police had access to the luxuries of our current forensic science and new technology. No genetic fingerprinting, no mobile phones and computers were in their infancy. Here we see basic policing methods and procedures. Maybe that was one of the reasons why I liked the book, it seemed real. Perhaps we've become sated with the CSI type programmes and action films and need to get back to this type of crime novel and programme. Apart from the low technology, the novels haven't dated that much, well mind you I noticed they did do a lot of smoking!
What I particularly like is that in each of the books I've read so far, there has been a really interesting review which I have found very useful. I like seeing whether my impressions match other people's and maybe find something I've missed.
I've read the next two books in the series, The Man Who Went Up in Smoke and The Man on the Balcony and I have to say I'm really enjoying them. I'm getting to know the characters now as a little more about them is revealed in each book. The books are getting darker and have something of the bleakness of the Wallander novels but I have to say I can't put the Martin Beck books down once I pick them up.
Next in the series to read is The Laughing Policeman which I understand was made into a film in 1973 starring Walter Matthau and Bruce Dern. Apparently they moved the location to San Francisco for some reason. Not sure how that would work but I'll keep a look out for it!
I started this post way back in March this year! However I've been very poor at blogging in recent months but I have been reading and knitting a lot and that's my excuse. Well I've sadly reached the end of the books in this series that I can read as the library just doesn't have any more. It's so disappointing but I'll keep a lookout in the charity shops as I did like this series. If you haven't come across this series and you like crime/police/detective stories they are well worth reading.
I'm disappointed but never mind I moved onto Michael Dibdin's Zen series prompted by the telly adaptations which I really enjoyed and posted about. They have definitely filled the gap!