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Roseanna (The Martin Beck series) by Maj…
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Roseanna (The Martin Beck series) (original 1965; edition 2011)

by Maj Sjowall, Per Wahloo, Henning Mankell (Introduction)

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1,502534,928 (3.77)119
Member:pussy_galore_
Title:Roseanna (The Martin Beck series)
Authors:Maj Sjowall
Other authors:Per Wahloo, Henning Mankell (Introduction)
Info:Fourth Estate (2011), Edition: (Reissue), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:My Books, Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Sweden, fiction, crime

Work details

Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall (1965)

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» See also 119 mentions

English (46)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All (53)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
This is a departure from the conventional crime novel, a very narrowly focussed police procedural. There are no clues to figure out, no elaborate settings or plots, no insight into the criminal mind. It simply traces the slow and painstaking steps of analyzing a murder, building up information and gradually identifying the suspects and then trying to find evidence to confirm a case. Except for the somewhat overdrawn final chapter, we have no idea what motivates the murderer. All this is, I suspect, much more like a real police case than the psychological profilers and intuitive detectives that we see so much today (at least in my television experience, and I don’t watch or read much criminal fiction because it just seems so overdone).
For my temperament, this approach is interesting and satisfying, although I can imagine that for many readers it would be too dry. For the first three months of the plot, the police don’t even know who the victim is, until someone matches a missing person report from the USA to the Swedish murder. The story reproduces investigation reports and interrogations without extraneous description or comments on the reaction of those questioned. The reader has to piece together the details from the words reported. Even the interior monologue of the lead detective doesn’t advance the plot or contribute to understanding the crime. The pace is even more constrained by the time period, the early sixties when the only instant communication was the telephone, and investigators had to wait while documents were couriered from one place to another. Forensics are limited and high-tech doesn’t exist.
In spite of this style, the novel is intriguing for the realistic portrayal of what an actual police investigation might be like in reality. This, to me, seems like the investigations that I read about in news media, when even with the benefit of instantaneous communications it takes weeks to get lab reports and months or more to build a case. Investigators’ hunches, both right and wrong, come from what the witnesses actually say or what’s in the evidence, not from brilliant intuition. And they have to be proven on the basis of evidence that will stand up in court. I expect that this is because the authors were journalists, and presumably has some knowledge of the realities of criminal investigation. Also, as Marxists, they want to see conclusions drawn from material fact.
The characters are thinly drawn and the action is slow – although there is one sequence at the end when an intensity builds, the police lose track of the suspect and suspense is real. But the stories do give an interesting picture of a police investigation in a realistic Swedish setting at a particular time. I’m interested enough to want to read more in the Martin Beck series. ( )
  rab1953 | May 31, 2017 |
4,5 stars! ( )
  Danyspike | Jan 13, 2017 |
Ok. Must have been more shocking when it was published in 1965. ( )
  gpaisley | Jun 18, 2016 |
I think I would have liked this book a lot more if I had read the print copy instead of listening to the audio version. A lot seemed to get lost in the narrator's reading of this translation. The book was a police procedural that read like an actual police manual. But I felt there was a lot behind the character of Martin Beck that I was missing. He seemed to be a very complex man that never gave up on a case, but a lot of that was lost in the audio recording. I'll continue the series, but I think I'm going to try to get a copy of the printed translations. ( )
  jguidry | May 31, 2016 |
Very well written and paced thriller/police procedural/hard boiled mystery. Not really a mystery, all is made obvious, but very enjoyable. The authors set out to write a set of ten of these and did exactly that...I will likely read them all. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Feb 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sjöwall, Majprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wahlöö, PerAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Mankell, HenningIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polet, CoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roth, LoisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They found the corpse on the eighth of July just after three o'clock in the afternoon.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307390462, Paperback)

The masterful first novel in the Martin Beck series of mysteries by the internationally renowned crime writing duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, finds Beck hunting for the murderer of a lonely traveler.On a July afternoon, a young woman's body is dredged from Sweden's beautiful Lake Vattern. With no clues Beck begins an investigation not only to uncover a murderer but also to discover who the victim was. Three months later, all Beck knows is that her name was Roseanna and that she could have been strangled by any one of eighty-five people on a cruise. As the melancholic Beck narrows the list of suspects, he is drawn increasingly to the enigma of the victim, a free-spirited traveler with a penchant for casual sex, and to the psychopathology of a murderer with a distinctive--indeed, terrifying--sense of propriety..

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:24 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"The masterful first novel in the Martin Beck series of mysteries ... finds Beck hunting for the murderer of a lonely traveler. On a July afternoon, a young woman's body is dredged from Sweden's beautiful Lake Vattern. With no clues, Beck begins an investigation not only to uncover a murderer but also to discover who the victim was. Three months later, all Beck knows is that her name was Roseanna and that she could have been strangled by any one of eighty-five people on a cruise. As the melancholic Beck narrows the list of suspects, he is drawn increasingly to the enigma of the victim, a free-spirited traveler with a penchant for casual sex, and to the psychopathology of a muderer with a distinctive -- indeed, terrifying -- sense of propriety"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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