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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Martin Beck Series
Having become an avid reader of Scandinavian crime authors over the past few years this series was brought to my attention by an article in a Sunday newspaper.
The article detailed the various influences that the series had had on more modern writers such as Henning Mankell and recommended strongly that the books were worth reading.
I ordered the series as a...
Published on 17 Aug 2010 by Mr. J.McMullan

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great series but average book
I love the writing but compared to modern Scandinavian crime literature this isn't very exciting. Really shows up how boring police work is and therefore is a bit boring!!
Published 22 months ago by MJSIMMONS


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Martin Beck Series, 17 Aug 2010
By 
Mr. J.McMullan (Belfast, Antrim United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Having become an avid reader of Scandinavian crime authors over the past few years this series was brought to my attention by an article in a Sunday newspaper.
The article detailed the various influences that the series had had on more modern writers such as Henning Mankell and recommended strongly that the books were worth reading.
I ordered the series as a package and was delighted by it.The book spines are numbered 1-10 and in a line spell out MARTIN BECK.Although I have read the books in order it is clear that they stand as novels in their own right and can be read individually without reference to the others,although the occasional reference to a previous case is made in each book.
The main character,Beck,is not as dominant a figure as Wallander is in the Mankell novels,with the investigations proceeding much more on a team basis.The lack of computers,mobile phones and instant access to information is noticeable as is the amount of smoking done by almost every character,but this does not reduce the reading pleasure.
Being aware that the authors held strong left wing political views at the time adds to the fun by looking out for the occasional subtle ( or not so subtle)digs at Sweden's capitalist society and warnings of what the future may hold.
The books are very enjoyable.Well paced with interesting,believable characters who develop throughout the series.At times they are quite violent and the occasional sexual references are certainly more explicit than we expect in today's PC world.
I would highly recommend them to anyone ,like me,who enjoys police procedural novels with the added twist of Scandinavian environment and a close detachment from
2010.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what it seemed!, 3 Jan 2012
By 
John S. McDonald (Norwich,England) - See all my reviews
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The english title for this Martin Beck novel misleads...it suggests rather the old style closed room mystery so beloved of older writers before 1945. The original title with its play on pigs and mashed potatoes as chants of abuse to the police at the time of anti-Vietnam demonstrations in Sweden gives more of the flavour of this crime based critique of then contemporary Swedish mores.but with sardonic humoour. A really good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great series but average book, 21 Feb 2013
By 
MJSIMMONS "History Buff" (Bristol United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Murder at the Savoy (The Martin Beck series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
I love the writing but compared to modern Scandinavian crime literature this isn't very exciting. Really shows up how boring police work is and therefore is a bit boring!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Asking for more, 27 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Murder at the Savoy (The Martin Beck series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
A typical Martin Beck read, but too sudden and simple an end, with unanswered questions. Unsure about reading more at present.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This like the other 9 books in the series, 3 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Murder at the Savoy (The Martin Beck series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
This like the other 9 books in the series, is riveting. It opens with a very dramatic scene of someone being shot dead at a dinner speech. There is a lot in this book and you will end it wanting to read the other 9 books in the series. You have the comedy of the bumbling police officers Kvant and Kristianssen, the ins and outs of police procedure, and the various police characters who are so well drawn. And finally the internal regrets of the senior police officer Martin Beck, when he recognises that the inexorable wheels of the justice system have led to a certain result , but he feels morally that it is wrong, and has regrets. There is so much depth here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 July 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beck and company in another immersive page turner, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: Murder at the Savoy (The Martin Beck series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
The characters and dry humour make this series a pleasure. The observations about life in this time and place are another attraction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Typical martin Beck, 18 Jun 2014
By 
Michael Ward (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder at the Savoy (The Martin Beck series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
Starts slow, then gradually winds up till he plods around. These are showing their age but they are gentle stories and engage the reader well. I have already purchased the next one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Once again, excellent plotting and characterisation, 29 May 2014
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
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The sixth Martin Beck book, published in 1970 and translated by Joan Tate in 1971, opens at the Savoy Hotel in Malmö where a group of people is dining. One, Viktor Palmgren, a wealthy industrialist, stands to make a short speech, and is shot by an attacker who makes a successful getaway. Detective Inspector Per Månsson is initially given the case but, because of possible political and international ramifications, Beck is brought in from Stockholm to strengthen the investigation team.

From descriptions of the assailant a possible suspect is identified but, the disaster-prone duo that the authors employ so well, Kristiansson and Kvant, fail to detain him in Stockholm. The investigation begins to dig into Palmgren’s background, which gives the authors the opportunity to vent their spleen on international big business, capitalism, corrupt politicians and the super rich. This is balanced by humour, as in ‘Whereas everything happened on Monday and something on Tuesday, nothing at all happened on Wednesday. Nothing that furthered the investigation, anyway.’

The scene of the investigation is Malmö, although Larsson and Kollberg help out from Stockholm. The National Police Board’s Security Division, Sepo/Säpo [‘despised by many but primarily renowned for its unsurpassed incompetence.’], are also seeking the killer but, unfortunately, their agent, Paulsson [‘dressed in a houndstooth check suit of modern, youthful cut, a striped shirt, yellow shoes and socks of the same fierce colour.’] is quite unbelievable and very naïve, a rare misjudgement by the authors.

The authors are not quite as deft quite in describing Palmgren, his trophy wife and business associates as they are with lower orders of society [‘Unhappy people, nervous wrecks, were driven into desperate situations against their wills. In almost all the cases, alcohol or drugs were decisive factors…the relentless logic of the big city, which wore down the weak-willed and the maladjusted and drove them to senseless actions.’]. That said, the plot is compelling and the interactions between the policemen, who include the ambitious Benny Skacke [‘He imagined himself coming up with the solution, tracking down and catching the murderer single-handed. He would be promoted, and after that the only direction would be up. He was close to becoming Chief of Police when a new ring on the phone interrupted his vision of the future.’], who transferred to Malmö after the events described in ‘The Fire Engine that Disappeared’, are every bit as interesting as we have come to expect. Åsa Torell, who has joined the Vice Squad following the murder of her boyfriend Åke Stenström [see ‘The Laughing Policeman’].

The summer is one of the hottest on record and Sjöwall and Wahlöö do well to describe the flagging energies and sweaty bodies of the various characters. There is, unusually, just a single case to be investigated, and luck is once again harnessed to diligent police work to identify a suspect who, by the end, we come to sympathise with much more than the murder victim, his family and friends.

On the final page, Beck reflects on the investigation. ‘Moreover, a case has been wound up. He should have felt good, but it didn’t seem that way. Viktor Palmgren was dead. Gone forever and missed by no one, save for a handful of international swindlers and representatives of suspect regimes in countries far away. They would soon learn to do business with Mats Linder instead, and so things would be, to all intents and purposes, unchanged…..’ [it continues for a few more paragraphs but to write more would reveal the murderer.] ‘Chief Inspector Martin Beck didn’t feel good at all.’

Beck is his usual morose self, coming down yet again with a cold. The plodding realism of the investigation once again runs the risk of losing the reader’s attention and this, and the degree of political carping by the characters, may have annoyed some reviewers. However, Richard Shephard addresses these in another excellent set of short essays at the end of the book [‘A Policeman’s Lot is not a Happy One’, ‘Society is to Blame’ and Police and Policies’]. The Introduction to this Harper Perennial edition is by Michael Carlson, a book reviewer and film critic, whose work I did not know. He alerts the reader to the authors’ left-wing opinions that are reflected by his characters, by the unremitting negative attributes and activities of Palmgren et al. and the sensitivites of the politicians and senior police officers to untoward comments about big business or suggestions of corruption reaching the media.

Although this can be read as a stand-alone book, there is a much greater impact if the series is read in sequence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another in a great series, 6 April 2014
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This review is from: Murder at the Savoy (The Martin Beck series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
REAM THEM ALL NOW... DON"T DELAY, YES I AM SHOUTING, BUT IT IS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. If you like Scandi-noir, if you like Ec McBain, or indeed anything between the two you will love this series.
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