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The Laughing Policeman (The Martin Beck series, Book 4)
 
 

The Laughing Policeman (The Martin Beck series, Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

Maj Sjöwall , Per Wahlöö
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

‘I’ve read “The Laughing Policeman” six or eight times. Each time I reach the final twist on the final page, I shiver afresh.’ Jonathan Franzen

‘Tantalizing…the splendid story of an apparently motiveless crime.’ New York Times Book Review

‘An influential police procedural with a precision-engineered plot that can grip and shock a reader…the plotting, pacing and characterisation are all exquisite: and the halting translation and the dated, just plain weird sexual politics somehow seem only to make it more compelling.’ Independent on Sunday

‘For Beck, as with Maigret, each investigation is less a riddle to be answered than a human situation to be understood…it's all done with immense accomplishment. A welcome addition to the Martin Beck casebook.’ Matthew Coady, Guardian

‘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 Sjöwall/Wahlöö, 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

Review

‘An influential police procedural with a precision-engineered plot that can grip and shock a reader…the plotting, pacing and characterisation are all exquisite: and the halting translation and the dated, just plain weird sexual politics somehow seem only to make it more compelling.’ Independent on Sunday

‘For Beck, as with Maigret, each investigation is less a riddle to be answered than a human situation to be understood…it's all done with immense accomplishment. A welcome addition to the Martin Beck casebook.’ Matthew Coady, Guardian

‘If you haven’t read Sjowall/Wahloo, start now.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘I’ve read “The Laughing Policeman” six or eight times. Each time I reach the final twist on the final page, I shiver afresh.’ Jonathan Franzen

‘Tantalizing…the splendid story of an apparently motiveless crime.’ New York Times Book Review

‘The decalogue about the Swedish Chief Inspector Martin Beck created by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo during the 1960s and 1970s are indeed classic police fiction. They changed the genre. Whoever is writing crime fiction after these novels is inspired by them in one way or another.’ Henning Mankell


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 577 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (3 April 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007242948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007242948
  • ASIN: B002RI9TAK
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,355 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Swedish police novel from the 1960s 27 Feb 2011
By Maxine Clarke VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fourth in the acclaimed Martin Beck series, THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN is another example of the controlled brilliance of this superb set of novels. The book (first published in 1967) opens with a description of an anti-Vietnam war demonstration, in which the police casually brutalize a girl demonstrator on her thirteenth birthday. Police resources have almost entirely been deployed to quelling the protesters, allowing free rein to the real criminals. The authors do not need to provide further comment on the ludicrous situation in which young girls are arrested but a blind eye is turned to thieves, muggers and worse.
Police inspectors and series regulars Beck and Kollberg are unmoved by the hysteria over the demonstrations. Their years of experience have taught them how to avoid being drafted in to help, so instead of beating up hippies they are playing chess on a dark, rainy night while Kollberg is babysitting. Later that night, however, ten people on a bus are massacred by a gunman (or woman) in a seemingly motiveless crime. The first police on the scene are the lazy radio patrolmen Kristiansson and Kvent, whom we last met in THE MAN ON THE BALCONY when they inadvertently solved the case. On this occasion, they recognize one of the victims as a homicide-squad detective, and so inform Gunvald Larsson, who in turn contacts Beck, as well as trampling all over the scene and ruining much of the forensic evidence. After a brief period in which Beck worries that the victim might be his friend Kollberg, it turns out that the dead man is the ambitious young detective Ake Stenstrom.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the buses 17 Feb 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book #4, and the loveable pair of Swedish Marxists are on top form with this one; it's a real high point in the series. The procedural aspects are very much to the fore, the wonderful Gunvald Larrson character looks like he's here to stay, and there's a great comedic turn from the Keystone-like Kristiansson and Kvant. Oh, and Kollberg gets kinky. Read it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
George Santayana

On a rainy Stockholm night a gunman opens fire on Stockholm bus, killing eight passengers and critically wounding a ninth. The crime scene is bloody and chaotic. Critical clues may have been destroyed when the first police officers arrive on the scene and trample through the bus. Police Superintendent Martin Beck is placed in charge of the investigation. There appear to be no clues and no apparent motive. His task is the monumental one of taking this chaotic scene and imposing enough order on it so that clues may be found, leads followed, and the criminal or criminals brought to justice. The physical and mental burdens of the job are compounded by emotional burdens once Beck discovers that one of the victims happens to be a detective who worked in Martin Beck's unit. That is the plot that unfolds in the opening pages of Per Wahloo and Maj Sowall's remarkably well-crafted "The Laughing Policeman".

The Laughing Policeman, published in Sweden in 1968 and in the U.S. in 1971 (winner of that year's Edgar Award for Best Novel), was the fourth in a series of ten Martin Beck mysteries written by the Swedish, husband and wife team of Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. The plot and structure of the four Beck mysteries I've read to date do not deviate from the standard format found in any well-written police procedural. However, what sets the Beck mysteries apart is their location and character development. Naturally enough, each book is a small window into Swedish life and culture in the 1960s and 1970s when the books were written. Further, as the series develops the character of Beck and his colleagues evolve and the reader slowly obtains a real feel for Beck and his fellow police officers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Readable Swedish Crime 31 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback
A very enjoyable read, written in 1968 by a husband and wife team, who together produced this atmospheric detective novel, set mostly in Stockholm

Not so much a `who done it' more a `how the police solved it'. That procedure involves a number of policemen trying to piece together snippets of information and picking away at small and large details until the killer is discovered.
Add in a few red herrings to keep the reader wondering and you have an engrossing tale.
The characters of the detectives and the witnesses they interviewed both major and minor, were well thought out and believable. After reading this feel I know what it was like to be living in Stockholm in the 60's. I `m sure I felt the chilly winter air while reading.
The translation for this edition was a little odd but this quirkiness, for me, added to the novel. A great read and I shall look out for others in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original Swedish detective 27 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback
The name of Martin Beck was only vaguely familiar to me when - the other week - a friend recommended these books. Having now waded in, I am immensely glad she did.

If I'm honest I was expecting something more contemporary - in the Stieg Larsson or Jo Nesbo line - not something far older and much more classic. Written and set in the Sixties, with protests against the Vietnam War as a backdrop, this is a beautifully conceived and wonderfully sharp police procedural. A bus crashes on a dark Stockholm night, and on board are the bodies of eight people who have all been shot to death. Gradually Martin Beck - our lead detective - and his team pull back the layers of mystery until we reach a tense and well thought out denouement. Even though this is the fourth book in the series (I'm told that some earlier books have not yet been translated), it's easy to hook straight in, with every character being well realised and defined, and the plot motoring forward in a way that's constantly tantalising.

Very good use is made in `The Laughing Policeman' of the snowy and oppressive Swedish winter, which makes it all the more incongruous that the film version is apparently set in San Francisco and stars Walter Matthau. Yet having enjoyed the book so much, I am almost tempted to watch it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bound to be another great book!
Published 14 days ago by Paperbutterfly
4.0 out of 5 stars twists and turns that kept me turning the pages. ...
twists and turns that kept me turning the pages....certainly a team whose books have stood the test of time, albeit we have to suspend our credulity to be without computers and... Read more
Published 28 days ago by scottish pixie
4.0 out of 5 stars Detective teamwork
The fourth book in the Martin Beck series. A tale of the hunt for a mass murder, with the authors typical style of capturing the grind of detective work during the long periods of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr Lee Rudd
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars It refers to a totally unsuitable Christmas present from his family...
This is one of the ten book series about police and crime solving in Sweden and once you have read one, you will certainly want to read the other nine. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dolores Amazon customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Martin Beck books
Love the Martin Beck books, the stories that started the whole Scandi crime thing. Very political and damning of the swedish dream which turned out to be a bit tarnished.
Published 3 months ago by Mr Philip R Rossiter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read
Published 3 months ago by Ms. R. Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Short & sweet.
Published 3 months ago by Orinoco
4.0 out of 5 stars Swedish crime
Read this in Swedish as well, as it's well done.
Published 4 months ago by D. J. Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Review. Laughing Policeman
Excellent stuff again from the Swedish duo. I've read 6 of series so far, and I enjoyed this one the most.
Published 5 months ago by keith wilson
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