Wednesday, June 16, 2010
THE MAN WHO WENT UP IN SMOKE by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
These people are the most amazing writers.
In a sense, this couldn't be a more routine police procedural. Martin Beck is called back from vacation to search for a missing journalist.
The journalist himself is not of much importance, but his magazine threatens to sensationalize his disappearance in Budapest. So, to avoid negative publicity, the police send Beck to Budapest to find the man.
Beck moves around the city, stumbles onto a related but totally different crime, is attacked and could well have been killed, and then returns to Sweden and solves the crime.
Detail, detail, detail. That's what's at the heart of both the solution of the crime and of the novel itself. Everything Beck does is told in detail. And it is all interesting! It kept me reading right along.
There is no way I could write a book like this. I couldn't even keep track of it. Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo are geniuses at what they do. That's my humble opinion.
I remembered these books from a long time ago. This is the second of ten Martin Beck novels. The book was written in the 1960's, and I'm sure I read it then. I remembered liking them all, some more than others, but never coming up a cropper in this series. And that opinion still holds today.
I read this novel in a book containing the first two Beck novels, a Mystery Guild Lost Classics Omnibus. That book is available from Mystery Guild now.