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The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (The Martin Beck series, Book 2)

The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (The Martin Beck series, Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Maj Sjöwall , Per Wahlöö
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £3.85 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description


‘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

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


‘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 in 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: 507 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (3 April 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI919E
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,852 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 Beck's Budapest 28 July 2011
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
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully under-stated police procedural 12 May 2012
By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second in this classic series 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 22 Dec 2011
By bookworm8 VINE VOICE
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
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Maxine Clarke VINE VOICE
The classic series of ten books about Swedish policeman Martin Beck and his team is so often held up as the epitome of crime writing: the turning point between the "golden age" of the hero detective and the modern police-procedural, that one wonders if the praise is overstated. And can the books stand the test of time? The first few were written in the 1960s, in a time before the internet, email, mobile phones, faxes that we take for granted and have come to expect as the aides to modern detection.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first of the series, ROSEANNA, but felt that one book was not enough to form an opinion of the whole series. But after the second marvellous volume, THE MAN WHO WENT UP IN SMOKE, I'm convinced.
Martin Beck is interrupted from a holiday about which he feels at the best ambivalent, and asked by his boss to go to Hungary to see if he can find a journalist, Alf Matsson, who has mysteriously disappeared. Beck is not too upset about this, and goes off - somewhat hampered by the need for discretion requested by Matsson's editor and which has been agreed by Beck's superiors as well as the security services in the Iron Curtain era.
Quite a large part of the book features Beck's Hungarian experience: the pockets of faded grandeur such as the hotel where he stays and the old steamers that remain from happier times before the Soviet invasion. He is convinced he is being followed, and soon enough he encounters the local police in the form of the enigmatic Vilmos Szluka. Gradually, the two men drop their mutual suspicion and develop a respect of each other's methods. As they begin to compare notes openly, Beck begins to see a few leads. He follows one or two of these, which seem to turn out to be red herrings, before eventually returning home, none the wiser.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ORIGINAL GREAT SERIES
This is one of the ten Inspector Martin Beck books that inspired Henning Mankel to create the Wallender series. A great read.
Published 2 months ago by MalcMcD
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Good story, fast moving, very believable character's, down to earth hard working Police investigations, and the story behind the main people, their lives and problems.
Published 2 months ago by Mr. J. Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Swedish detective, enjoyable
Martin Beck hasn't suffered in translation, nor has he aged badly. Interesting to debate how much he was an influence on Michael Connelly, which is how I came here in the first... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mike Mood
5.0 out of 5 stars A real twist at the end
These books are the best crime reads I have read in years. You will not wont to put this down until the end
Published 2 months ago by Allison
5.0 out of 5 stars Best police procedural ever
I came across the Martin Beck novels relatively recently. They are simply the best. Clearly and simply written with great plots. Wish I had found them years ago.
Published 3 months ago by Mike Mc Liverpool
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, but thoroughly engrossing detective novel
This is a curious, but nevertheless, engrossing murder mystery: it is set mostly in Budapest and the seemingly intractable mystery unfolds as you read. Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. J. de Bulat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
The first writers of the now famous Nordic Noir novels. I loved it. And Martin Beck is a great Detective character - we can see where Wallander came from.
Published 5 months ago by Margaret Telfer
2.0 out of 5 stars Burn it!
We chose this book for book club. The description looked good and i enjoy a detective story. Sadly this was really dull - started fairly well and was interested in some of the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jandrell
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read
Gentle read, a little different from the norm.
I would recommend this to those who enjoy a well plotted detective based novel.
Published 5 months ago by Alan Edward Preece
4.0 out of 5 stars Teamwork
You are in the police station lidtening to all the conversations and you are out in Stockholm living the crime solving. All of the M B series are a good read if you like the genre
Published 5 months ago by GHOB
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