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The Locked Room (The Martin Beck series, Book 8) [Kindle Edition]

Maj Sjöwall , Per Wahlöö , Michael Connelly
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The eighth classic instalment in this genre-changing series of novels starring Detective Inspector Martin Beck. This new edition has an introduction by Michael Connolly.

In one part of town, a woman robs a bank. In another, a corpse is found shot through the heart in a room locked from within, with no firearm in sight. Although the two incidents appear unrelated, Detective Inspector Martin Beck believes otherwise, and solving the mystery acquires the utmost importance. Haunted by a near-fatal bullet wound and trying to recover from the break-up of his unhappy marriage, Beck throws himself into the case to escape from the prison that his own life has come to resemble.

Written in the 1960s, these masterpieces are the work of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo – a husband and wife team from Sweden. The ten novels follow the fortunes of the detective Martin Beck, whose enigmatic, taciturn character has inspired countless other policemen in crime fiction. The novels can be read separately, but do follow a chronological order, so the reader can become familiar with the characters and develop a loyalty to the series. Each book will have a new introduction in order to help bring these books to a new audience.



Product Description

Review

Praise for ‘Roseanna’:

‘The writing is elegant and surprisingly humorous – if you haven’t come across Beck before, you’re in for a treat.’ Guardian

‘I have never read a finer police story.’ Los Angeles Times

‘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 inspired by them in one way or another.’ Henning Mankell

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

‘Their mysteries don’t just read well; they reread even better. Witness, wife, petty cop or crook – they’re all real characters even if they get just a few sentences. The plots hold, because they’re ingenious but never inhuman.’ New York Times

Review

Praise for ‘Roseanna’:

‘The writing is elegant and surprisingly humorous – if you haven’t come across Beck before, you’re in for a treat.’ Guardian

‘I have never read a finer police story.’ Los Angeles Times

‘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 inspired by them in one way or another.’ Henning Mankell

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

‘Their mysteries don’t just read well; they reread even better. Witness, wife, petty cop or crook – they’re all real characters even if they get just a few sentences. The plots hold, because they’re ingenious but never inhuman.’ New York Times


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1696 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (3 April 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI90ZO
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #44,481 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Razor sharp police prodedural 1 July 2010
Format:Paperback
Written towards the end of the series of 10 Martin Beck novels, this has all the features of the other novels: spare, economical writing, a sympathetic lead character in the Wallander mode, a strong ensemble cast of characters, a plausible and fairly detailed account of police procedures and an exposure of the underbelly of the Swedish social democratic 'utopia'.

The novel is notable for its plots which combine a classic 'locked room mystery' with a tales of both highly professional and pathetically amateurish bank robbers. It contains a laugh out loud scene where the hapless police under the hapless direction of bulldozer Olsen storm a completely empty room injuring two officers and a police dog in the process and also introduces a love interest for the chief inspector which is more believable than many in the genre.

The writing is ironic and comedic throughout and concludes with the denouement of the three plots where the innocent are punished and the guilty go free. Altogether a satisfying read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in the series 21 Dec. 2012
By Jl Adcock VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This has to be one of the finest books in the much-acclaimed Martin Beck series. The authors have really developed their style by this stage, and there is an easy combination of police procedural, pacy thriller, locked room mystery and social commentary to enjoy. Martin Beck, back from leave after the incident at the conclusion of "The Abominable Man" seems curiously detached from his job and wider society, and it's this increasing sense of isolation that, perversely perhaps, makes him much more interesting as a character.

The dry humour and unexpected, almost deadpan plot switches that take the readers up blind alleys remain pure Ed McBain, but Sjowall and Wahloo have honed the influence of the 87th Precinct stories and pretty much made them their own by now, and the result is unputdownable. Apart from the crime stories that unfold in this volume, there are some beautifully observed moments to savour: Beck visiting his elderly mother in a care home, the wonderfully dotty community where an important witness is interviewed (which becomes significant in other ways as well for Beck); all add to the richness of the reading experience. I very much agree with some previous reviewers here that in terms of social observation, there are shades of the excellent Georges Simenon here.

More than anything, the Martin Beck stories reveal the truth of Swedish life as Sjowall and Wahloo experienced it - and if it's any consolation, change didn't seem for the better then, viewed with as much cycnism and suspicion as we can view the same process these days.

Fiction at its best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ode to Edgar Allan Poe and Georges Simenon 9 Aug. 2012
Format:Paperback
After 15 months on sick leave, Martin Beck (MB) returns to work and is given a weeks-old case file, almost as a welcoming gift. Understaffing has made it a cold case. What MB reads: a complaint about a prurient smell. A patrol car responds and its two occupants first engage a locksmith, then violently enter a small apartment barricaded from the inside. The source of the stench is a 62-year old man. The autopsy report says death was caused by a bullet. Everything suggests suicide. But no weapon was found in the closed room. This is where MB picks up the case, zooming in on the victim, his past and a motive for killing him.
The series' early focus on pure police investigation slowly gave way to drawing attention to social issues. But it also made S&W famous as founders of the Scandinavian school of crime writing. From book 3, two lazy dimwits have personified Sweden's uniformed police. In this book the virus of incompetence has clearly spread to the top echelons. Again, S&W's ranting against the failings of the Swedish welfare state distract fans of pure police procedurals. But happily, there is a second story line about a crew of bank robbers, who have now killed a person. Stockholm police high command believes it has the gang under total surveillance. It keeps the book readable. And there is even a third story line about MB himself.
Many twists and turns towards the end. Brilliant solo sleuthing by MB, who during his quest finds a new lady friend. The solution of the murders and the mystery of the closed room are best left to readers to discover, in addition to the moral outcome of this brisk novel, which is dark.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A closed book to me 3 Feb. 2014
By JK
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
So: the famous Martin Beck series.

Hmm. Well, I must say it starts well, and when Beck himself's on stage, especially when he's actually doing something, this hums along quite nicely.

The problem with the book, though, is that it's far too often used as a soap box for pseudo-political passages on, say, the Swedish welfare system, problems facing police recruitment, etc. etc.

And the heavy-handed keystone kops style humour in places, while not unamusing, might find a more comfortable home in another novel.

Perhaps a function of the famed dual-authorship of this series? Whatever the reason, before long I found myself plodding, then skimming, then abandoning. A shame: I expected better. Is there a particularly good one I should have started with?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps things are looking up for Martin Beck? 26 May 2014
By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book is the longest thus far of the authors’ books in ‘The Story of a Crime’ series and certainly the most complex. It is also the book in which the authors’ leftwing politics find their strongest expression in attacks on politicians, the police, pensions, social security and taxes [‘Stockholm has one of the highest suicide rates in the world…… For the fact of the matter is that the so-called Welfare Sate abounds with sick, poor, and lonely people, leaving at best on dog food, who are left uncared for until they waste away and die in their rat-hole tenements.’]. It is also the most humorous.

The focus is shifted from the police to a gang of bank robbers and we find Martin Beck returning to work after 15 months’ convalescence after the events described in the latter pages of ‘The Abominable Snowman’. The opening chapter describes a bank robbery that draws the reader immediately into the narrative.

This book was originally published in1972, two years after its predecessor, and is republished by Harper Perennial in a translation by Paul Britten Austin that has stood the test of time. Beck is uncertain about his future, having repeated nightmares at night and concerned with getting through one day at a time. His body may now be mended, but mentally he is far from healthy.

On his return to work he is given the case of a badly decomposing body discovered in a locked room, with its windows sealed, weeks after being shot. In a storyline that relates to the classic ‘murder in a locked room’ mysteries, no gun was found with the body that had been shot through the heart. The victim ‘had dragged out his days on his pension. In other words he belonged to that category for whom the supermarket chains maintain overstocked counters of dog and cat food.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A perfectly respectable follow up from "The Abominable Man"
I note in this 8th book in the series that there is a lot more quite bitter and ironic social commentary on the social problems facing Swedish society at the time of writing and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Retroman
4.0 out of 5 stars The Locked Room
Martin Beck was absent from a large portion of the book but i still enjoyed the book and its ending. Recommended and looking forward to book nine
Published 2 months ago by M. G. Raines
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enigma
typical downbeat Martin Beck Novel. A bizarre incident which puzzles everyone, and then Beck returns from his sick leave and spends all his time devoted to trying to solve the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michael Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Just as enjoyable as I had expected.
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars ronnie robinson
A well written interesting and enjoyable read. Particularly enjoyed the links in the story lines and the fairness of the outcome.
Published 6 months ago by RR
3.0 out of 5 stars Swedish crime
Good.
Published 7 months ago by D. J. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Swedish masterpiece
This series of books is outstanding combining humour, sociological insight and murder with a twist. This is a classic locked room murder mystery following in the footsteps of... Read more
Published 8 months ago by ip E
5.0 out of 5 stars exactly what you would expect from these stars
yet again S&W triumph.
Published 9 months ago by C. Heneghan
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but good
This is a less graphic thriller than some of the other noir from Scandinavia and all the better for that. Read more
Published 13 months ago by marionq
5.0 out of 5 stars "...frightened people are dangerous people..."
Set in 1960s Sweden in a period when the social system was rife with protest this has a nostalgic feel of uncertainty and change. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Eileen Shaw
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