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Laughing Policeman [Hardcover]

Maj Sjowall , Per Wahloo , Alan Blair
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Hardcover --  
Hardcover, Dec 1 1993 --  
Paperback CDN $12.96  
Mass Market Paperback --  
Audio, CD CDN $19.95  

Book Description

Dec 1 1993
The fantastic fourth classic instalment in the Martin Beck detective series from the 1960s -- the novels that have inspired all crime fiction written ever since. The Martin Beck series is widely recognised as the greatest masterpiece of crime fiction ever written. These are the original detective stories that pioneered the detective genre and inspired writers from Agatha Christie to Henning Mankell; Graham Greene to Jonathan Franzen. Translated into 35 languages, they have sold over 10 million copies around the world. Written in the 1960s, they 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. On a cold and rainy Stockholm night, nine bus riders are gunned down by an unknown assassin. The press, anxious for an explanation for the seemingly random crime, quickly dubs him a madman. But Martin Beck of the Homicide Squad suspects otherwise: this apparently motiveless killer has managed to target one of Beck's best detectives -- and he, surely, would not have been riding that lethal bus without a reason. With its wonderfully observed lawmen, its brilliantly rendered felons and their murky Stockholm underworld, and its deftly engineered plot, 'The Laughing Policeman' has long been recognised as a classic of the police procedural.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

In this classic police procedural, the ever-dyspeptic Martin Beck has nothing to be amused about, even though it's Christmastime. Åke Stenstrom, a young detective in Beck's squad, has just been killed in an unprecedented mass murder aboard a Stockholm city bus. Was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or did he push a murderer too far in his efforts to make a name for himself on the force? Realizing that Stenstrom's presence on the bus was no mere coincidence, his compatriots retrace his steps and chase years-old clues to a crime long thought unsolvable. Along with Roseanna, this is one of the best of Sjöwall and Wahlöö's ten Martin Beck mysteries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 '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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding March 10 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Typical of the authors. Perfect crime procedural novel in the vein of of Ed McBain and others. Timeless in the way that never gets old. Could easily have been today or 40 years ago.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the introduction!!! June 17 2013
Format:Paperback
Another great book in the Martin Beck series. But don 't read the introduction before you read the book as Jonathan Franzen spoils three major plot points in his intro! He also comes across as a pompous, condescending douche and for good measure throws out a further minor spoiler for future volumes. No wonder Oprah hates him. After great intro's from Nesbo and Mankell in early volumes this was extremely annoying!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Swedish Version of "NYPD Blue" April 21 2002
Format:Paperback
Sweden meets "NYPD Blue" in this non-action-packed police detective mystery by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. All of the action of "The Laughing Policeman" seems to take place before the book even begins. At the start of the book we learn that a terrible crime has been committed, nine passengers have been shot dead on a public bus in the streets of Stockholm. In light of the current events that have recently taken place in the U.S., it is ironic that the Swedish detectives on the case speak of how strange the crime is, stating that such a crime would more likely be seen on U.S. soil. The reader gains a good knowledge of the city of Stockholm, its streets, its people, its dark side, as the detectives leave no stone unturned in their search for the killer. Yet, while the characters are busy searching all over the city, we, the readers, are busy exploring the depths of the characters themselves. Each character has many interesting distinctions and, much like the way the details of the crime are slowly unraveled, different facets of the characters involved are revealed as the novel progresses. It almost seems, at times, that the novel is more about the detectives and their lives than it is about solving the crime at hand. It comes across as a kind of police detective television show where there is always a crime to be solved, but people really watch the show just to see what will happen in the characters' personal lives. Overall, a good mystery, with an exciting conclusion, but perhaps more for the "NYPD Blue" fan, than the "Murder She Wrote" type.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rough Brand of Justice March 19 2002
Format:Paperback
The 1960?s were riotous and pivotal years in both the United States and Europe. This police procedural starring Martin Beck, the notable detective and superintendent of the Stockholm Homicide Squad, captures the political and social unrest of a nation and the world at a time of both great loss and possibility.
The scene is Stockholm, Sweden. ?The time was three minutes past eleven on the evening of the thirteenth of November, 1967? (8). And while hundreds of demonstrators and policemen were finally breaking up outside the American embassy in response to the War in Vietnam, on the other side of town, ?eight murders and one attempted murder were committed in Stockholm? (5).
With their straightforward, frank approach to the detective novel, Sjowall and Wahloo launch the reader into the thick of the homicide squad?s tangled investigation of the worst mass murder in Sweden?s history. The detectives, led by Superintendent Martin Beck, involve themselves in the painstaking and tedious tasks of detection in their concerted attempt to discover the perpetrator of such a heinous act. In doing so, the reader glimpses the emotional predicament that such a life and line of work at this contentious time in history created for these men. They match the brute strength of the police force against the mob of the underworld, straining to preserve humanity in the face of the awful charge of solving a terrible crime.
Though in the end, intelligence and a rough justice do prevail, the final twist of the novel does not come until the final pages. Anyone fan of detective fiction will find themselves entranced by the unique combination of detective procedure and dry, black humor that resonates throughout the pages of this engrossing detective thriller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars He Laughs June 9 2010
By Dave and Joe TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In this fourth Martin Beck mystery book, he laughs. The Laughing Policeman in the perfect mystery thriller. You are kept guessing right until the last page. A spectacular crime. No clues. I found myself working hard to try and figure out who amongst the victims was 'the' victim. Man, did this was more fun that those 'brain game' books. Have fun, it's a great ride.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Comfort Food Nov. 21 2002
Format:Paperback
I picked up "The Laughing Policeman" after seeing it recommended by both the Washington Post's very reliable Michael Dirda and by "The Corrections" author Jonathan Franzen, who referred to the book as literary "comfort food." Indeed, the book was a perfect fit for the rainy, November days when I read it. The great characters and snappy writing would have earned it four stars, but the heavy-handed political discourse and a sometimes-awkward translation bring it down to three.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Sept. 27 2002
Format:Paperback
The fourth book in the Martin Beck series of novels, and one of the best. This is the first one that really begins to lay on the social and political commentary, but never loses sight of the series' attention to the details and virtues of methodical police work.
The crime this time is the inexplicable slaughter of seven city bus passengers by an unknown maniac with a machine gun. Included among the victims was one of Beck's colleagues on the homicide squad. Was this just a meaningless coincidence? Or something more? An excellent thriller, also notable for its incisive criticism of the incompetence and corruption of modern law enforcement.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe It's Me..........
but this book just didn't float my boat. I like my books hard-boiled and/or noir and The Laughing Policeman failed on both counts; in fact to be honest I didn't even finish it... Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2004 by POP
5.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate glimpse into dehumanized officers
The Laughing Policeman will satisfy anyone searching for a classic crime novel with a truly original and engaging storyline, but the most satisfaction comes in its subtle social... Read more
Published on April 11 2002 by Jason Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars The Laughing Policeman
While "The Laughing Policeman" ostensibly focuses on Sjowall and Wahloo's protagonist Martin Beck, the book truly gains its appeal not solely through the depiction of... Read more
Published on April 9 2002 by Mike Tarasovic
3.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome Murder
Welcome to Stockholm Sweden the home of vicious murder. The Laughing Policeman begins similarly to a James Patterson novel with a gruesome act of terror and human sacrifice as a... Read more
Published on April 8 2002 by Albert Chou
5.0 out of 5 stars The Swedish Mistake
The Laughing Policeman, written by Swedish authors May Sjowall and Per Wahloo, is a fascinating journey into the minds and actions of a society built upon an idealist social... Read more
Published on March 25 2002 by Leya Speasmaker
4.0 out of 5 stars A routine police investigation?
Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's 1968 novel gives readers an insider's view on a group of Stockholm detectives working to uncover the mystery behind an abandoned bus with gunned-down... Read more
Published on March 21 2002 by Lottie L. Baker
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