Author(s): Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo
The sixth book in the classic Martin Beck detective series from the 1960s - the novels that shaped the future of Scandinavian crime writing. Hugely acclaimed, the Martin Beck series were the original Scandinavian crime novels and have inspired the writings of Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo. Written in the 1960s, 10 books completed in 10 years, they are the work of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo - a husband and wife team from Sweden. They follow the fortunes of the detective Martin Beck, whose enigmatic, taciturn character has inspired countless other policemen in crime fiction; without his creation Ian Rankin's John Rebus or Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander may never have been conceived. The novels can be read separately, but are best read in chronological order, so the reader can follow the characters' development and get drawn into the series as a whole. When Viktor Palmgren, a powerful industrialist, is casually shot during an after-dinner speech, the repercussions - both on the international money markets and on the residents of the small coastal town of Malmo - are widespread. Chief Inspector Martin Beck is called in to help catch a killer nobody, not even the victim, was able to identify. He begins a systemic search for the friends, enemies, business associates and call girls who may have wanted Palmgren dead - but in the process he finds to his dismay that he has nothing but contempt for the victim and sympathy for the murderer!
Praise for Sjowall and Wahloo: '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 'One of the most authentic, gripping and profound collections of police procedurals ever accomplished.' - Michael Connelly 'This Swedish husband-and-wife collaboration, specialising in the police novel, has gone from strength to strength. Plots are interesting as well as realistic, the various homicide men are admirably characterised, and the amused, sarcastic comments on modern Sweden are a delight.' - Sunday Times 'Their mysteries don't just read well; they reread even better. Witness, wife, petty cop or crook - they're all real characters even if they get just a few sentences. The plots hold, because they're ingenious but never inhuman.' - New York Times
Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, both left-wing journalists and politically radical, met in 1961 while working for magazines published by the same company. They married the next year and together created the Martin Beck crime series, famously writing alternate chapters at night after putting their children to bed. Wahloo died at the age of 49 just as their 10th book was going to press. Sjowall currently lives in Sweden and continues to work as a writer and translator. They won the esteemed Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Crime Fiction Book in 1971.