- available from Audible.com
- Narrated by
On a July afternoon, the body of a young woman is dredged from Sweden's beautiful Lake Vättern. Three months later, all that Police Inspector Martin Beck knows is that her name is Roseanna, that she came from Lincoln, Nebraska, and that she could have been strangled by any one of 85 people.
As the melancholic Beck narrows down the list of likely suspects, he is drawn increasingly to the enigma of the victim, a free-spirited traveller with a penchant for the casual sexual encounter, and to the psychopathology of a murderer with a distinctive - indeed, terrifying - sense of propriety.
With its authentically rendered settings, vividly realized characters, and command over the intricately interwoven details of police detection, Roseanna is a masterpiece of suspense and sadness.
I have been promising myself to read this, the first in the Martin Beck series. I have read a number of the series (see the list below) and enjoyed them. Fifty six years on from the publication of ROSEANNA, it would be easy to dismiss the signals in the book that crime fiction was embarking on a new style of police procedural, one that not only focussed on the crime committed but also on the way the policeman felt about his job, the way the investigation gnawed at the detective's consciousness, affected his family life, and even how well he felt.
The introduction to both the Audible and Kindle versions is the same, written by Henning Mankell who pays tribute to how the authors thought they could use "crime novels to form the framework for stories containing social criticism. ... They wanted to use crime and criminal investigations as a mirror of Swedish society... Their intent was never to write crime stories as a form of entertainment."
In ROSEANNA Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo experimented with a number of formats. Parts of the novel are simply narrative while in other sections we have verbatim transcripts of interview.
In 2009 an article in The Guardian titled The queen of crime said
- When Maj Sjöwall and her partner Per Wahlöö started writing the Martin Beck detective series in Sweden in the 60s, they little realised that it would change the way we think about policemen for ever.
My rating: 4.7
The Martin Beck series (courtesy Fantastic Fiction)
1. Roseanna (1965) - rated: 4.7
2. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (1966) - my review: rated 4.7
3. The Man on the Balcony (1967) - mini-review: rated 4.8
4. The Laughing Policeman (1968) - mini-review : rated 4.7
aka Investigation of Murder
5. The Fire Engine That Disappeared (1969) - review: rated 4.5
6. Murder at the Savoy (1970)
7. The Abominable Man (1971)
8. The Locked Room (1972)
9. Cop Killer (1974)
10. The Terrorists (1975)
I now have the remainder of this series on my Kindle and may set myself a mini-challenge in 2012 to complete reading it.
I am also making this post my contribution to this week's Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books