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The Martin Beck series - The Fire Engine…

The Martin Beck series - The Fire Engine That Disappeared (original 1969; edition 2007)

by Maj Sjöwall, Per Wahlöö

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8152211,167 (3.8)43
Title:The Martin Beck series - The Fire Engine That Disappeared
Authors:Maj Sjöwall
Other authors:Per Wahlöö
Info:Fourth Estate (2007), Edition: (Reissue), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Fire Engine that Disappeared by Maj Sjöwall (1969)



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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This was my least favorite in the Martin Beck series so far. This storyline was more disjointed than usual. The mystery was all over the place and the ending did not match my expectations for this series. As a mystery/police procedural this story fell through for me. However, this story did develop a lot of the characters in the story. And, even though the series revolves around Martin Beck, he was more a peripheral character in this one. This story revolved around Gunvald Larsson, a character that I am learning to like a lot. ( )
  jguidry | Mar 14, 2017 |
It was an okay book, slow paced, but nice.
A bit like the British crime novels: not too much violence, with detectives that solve their cases by thinking and detecting rather than beating people up. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Feb 26, 2017 |
Warning: this review contains spoilers


This is the Homicide Squad's most puzzling case yet -- a house explodes and it is determined that one of the victims of the subsequent fire was dead before the blaze began. Was he murdered, or did he commit suicide? Is there any connection with the suicide discovered earlier, where the dead man's apartment contained a note saying "Martin Beck"? What does Martin Beck have to do with this guy?

This was a pretty good case. The detectives are still working through the aftermath of The Laughing Policeman, which makes the series feel more realistic. Most of the detectives get at least one chapter to highlight their day-to-day lives and thought processes. My favourite is probably calm, methodical Melander, who knows his and others' limitations and works around them to produce fantastic results. As for Martin Beck, his personal life continues to barely hold together. His daughter is leaving home and his son is a bump on a log. His daughter suggests that he move out, too -- it hasn't escaped her notice that her parents don't get along very well. What will Martin Beck do?

Overall I am calling this a 3.5 -- the case was interesting, with a resolution I certainly couldn't predict, and some amusing asides. It might have been a 4-star read with fewer (read as: zero) mentions of nipples and instances of witnesses offering to have sex with policemen. The scene with Mänsson in particular was uncomfortable to contemplate. Granted, there are far more explicit books out there, but for me sex in a police procedural is almost always going to be gratuitous, because it is not solving the mystery. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 31, 2016 |
The fifth in the Martin Beck series sees the Chief Inspector take much more of a back-seat role as the latest investigation unfolds. Gunvald Larsson decides to check on a surveillance mission he's in charge of and offers temporary relief to the young policeman on watch. So not even supposed to be there, it's just his luck that the house converted into apartments suddenly explodes. Larsson manages to save several people from the property that is readily becoming engulfed in flame but there are three that don't manage to escape the inferno. One of which is the petty criminal that was the object of the surveillance in the first place. Initial investigations suggest a suicide by this very man much to Larsson's consternation who, after a short spell in hospital due to concussion, decides to take matters into his own hands and pursue enquiries on his own.

This instalment focuses more on the team around Martin Beck and offers glimpses into their personal lives and motivations as well as the social commentary of Sweden at the time these books are set (late sixties/early seventies) that this series has become known for. Again it is the painstaking work of the detectives involved that help to progress the investigation, following all of the clues even if they're heading nowhere. There is no quick fix or momentary flashes of brilliance that help solve the case. Instead it's the knocking on doors, finding the right people, asking the right question and sifting through the clues that will get them to the right outcome. If you want your crime fix to be thrill a minute then you should look elsewhere but if you like a well plotted police procedural then you could do a lot worse than picking up this series. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Aug 5, 2016 |
This fifth novel in the series continues the gradual process of building up a bleak, composite view of the failures of 60s/70s Swedish society whilst deglamourising police work, and at the same time pokes a little fun at one of the favourite tricks of technically sophisticated detective fiction, the death that looks as though it could equally well have been murder, suicide or accident. Sjöwall and Wahlöö take it a step further by providing us with deaths that seem to fall into more than one of these categories at once. And a title that looks like a complete red herring but might not be... ( )
  thorold | Oct 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maj Sjöwallprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wahlöö, PerAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Öström, ArneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruna, DickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dahmann, SusanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deutsch, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engen, BodilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodijk, W.M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, BjarneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Persson, Leif GWPréfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schulz, EckehardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tate, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zatti, RenatoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The man lying dead on the tidily made bed had first taken off his jacket and tie and hung them over the chair by the door.
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"The lightning-paced fifth novel in the Martin Beck mystery series by the internationally renowned crime writing duo, Maj Sj?owall and Per Wahl?o?o, finds Beck investigating one of the strangest, most violent, and unforgettable crimes of his career. The incendiary device that blew the roof off a Stockholm apartment not only interrupted the small, peaceful orgy underway inside, it nearly took the lives of the building's eleven occupants. And if one of Martin Beck's colleagues hadn't been on the scene, the explosion would have led to a major catastrophe because somehow a regulation fire-truck has vanished. Was it terrorism, suicide, or simply a gas leak? And what if, anything, did the explosion have to do with the peculiar death earlier that day of a 46-year-old bachelor whose cryptic suicide note consisted of only two words: "Martin Beck"?"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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