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The Martin Beck series (2) - The Man Who Went Up in Smoke Paperback – 1 Aug 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007232845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007232840
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gargoyle on 28 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I've set myself to read the whole ten books in this series. I love the stripped down nature of the writing and the dialogue is realistic too - sardonic banter among cops, sometimes nonsensical.

It's easy to see where Mankell get his influences from. There's a sadness in the way Beck goes about his life. His marriage doesn't look healthy. He packs a bottle of whisky when he goes travelling.

I think the Budapest passages work well. Beck's alienation is, if anything, made more stark by his being planted in a foreign city.

The solution to the mystery is delivered in dead pan style - Beck, his colleague and the murderer sitting about in a room till the truth emerges. No heroics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 May 2012
Format: Paperback
The Man Who Went Up in Smoke is a curious book. The edition I read is 198 pages long and for the first 80 or so very little happens. The narrative focuses on mundane, everyday life - Beck's increasingly distant relationship with his family, his ambivalence towards his job, getting to know a new city. There are no dramatic events, no sudden revelations or twists and turns, no quickening of the pace. In this sense, the pacing and observations mimic Beck himself, who finds it difficult to summon any interest or enthusiasm for the case. And yet the story is captivating. Sjowall and Wahloo's prose has a calm but insistent cadence as they immerse the reader in Beck's world and the cities of Stockholm and Budapest. They portray a terrific sense of atmosphere and place. In the second half of the book, there is a shift in pace as the clues start to be aligned and people start to react to Beck's investigation. A wonderfully under-stated police procedural.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 July 2014
Format: Paperback
Husband and wife team Per Wahloo (who is now no longer with us) and Maj Sjowall penned the Martin Beck crime series, and in the process they are often thought of as the godparents of modern Scandinavian crime fiction, but really they are more than that. By the time they started writing police procedurals had been around for a long time, but where the Martin Beck series is different is the way in which the stories were told. Beck isn’t the greatest policeman ever, and knows it; he is just a normal copper doing his job. He doesn’t wok by himself, he is part of a team, and it shows as others do some of the investigating as well. Although by the last novel I believe he is divorced this book for instance isn’t full of family turmoil, instead you get the impression of two people just drifting apart, as is the case with most divorces. Apart for a few pages there isn’t really much mention of the family in this, as it centres on the actual case.

As with police work, private investigative work and so on most of the time is filled with legwork and going over paperwork, and this comes to the fore in this, so don’t expect some action packed tale, this is more lifelike with patience and determination being the key components of a good cop. After finishing off one case Beck is going away on leave, resting with the family and getting some fishing in and generally relaxing, but within twenty four hours his assistance is being called upon. A magazine is starting to make ripples as one of their journalists has suddenly vanished in Budapest, and thus Beck is pulled into a case by curiosity. Travelling to Budapest he sets out to find the missing man.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on 28 Jan 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book two, and Martin Beck spends a lot of time on foreign soil. Despite this, we get more familiar with all the characters and the whole gestalt... Beck's failing marriage, his closeness with colleagues, especially Lennart Kollberg. Not as great as Roseanna, but still very, very good. Look out for the introduction of that wonderfully goofy pair, Kristiansson and Kvant - "who pop in and out of the series with the grisly inevitability of a pair of Shakespearean gravediggers"!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookworm8 VINE VOICE on 22 Dec 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was recommended a while ago to try the Martin Beck series and I am so glad I took the advice. I am really enjoying them and recommend them highly for anyone interested in police procedurals and thoughtful detective stories. The plots are well worked out but the best aspect for me is the development of the main character, Martin Beck, and his interaction with his wife and family, and his colleagues. Very believable, very engaging, very worthwhile buying!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M P Hall on 29 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second book in the Martin Beck series of Swedish police proceedural crime novels.This is from 1966 and mainly deals with Beck searching Cold War Budapest for a missing Swedish Journalist.

Stylistically detatched,unflinching,coldly clinical and microscopically detailed,This series is unlike anything I have read before,superficially simple,yet deep occasionally funny and thought-provoking.

This new edition features an interesting introduction by Val McDermid with articles,context and further reading guides.Of interest is a piece on how the husband and wife writing team actually planned and wrote the books with reproductions of their notes.

The first and best of the Nordic crime novelists,Sjowall and Wahloo's books are intelligent,individual,quirky and concise(198 pages-the product description is wrong).Warning:You will probably want all 10 so savour them.
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