The Fire Engine that Disappeared: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (5) Paperback – Jun 2 2009
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“A police procedural from the top drawer.”—Colin Dexter, from the introduction“Superbly well done. . . . Stunning right up to the last paragraph.”—New York Magazine“The first great series of police thrillers. . . . Truly exciting.”—Michael Ondaatje“Sjöwall and Wahlöö, beside writers such as Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Georges Simenon, have shaped the genre and the reader's expectations as to what crime fiction should be.”—Jo Nesbo
About the Author
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, her husband and coauthor, wrote ten Martin Beck mysteries. Mr Wahlöö, who died in 1975, was a reporter for several Swedish newspapers and magazines and wrote numerous radio and television plays, film scripts, short stories, and novels. Maj Sjöwall is also a poet.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"And just why is it not longer in print?" one of the bureaucrats might ask.
"Ridiculous" Beck might think under his breath.
These books give me the feeling that the authors really had a lot of experience in the world of police detective work. I don't know if they did or not. I think perhaps they were journalists who covered some criminal investigations.
There isn't a gunfight on every other page, and they don't get the guy who did it quite as easily as all that.
The work is methodical and frustrating, but in the end things get done and in the end the book is a satisfying read with small insights into both the work and the lives of the men.
This particular one has a good bit of Gunvald Larsson (not exactly Beck's favorite colleague, but definitely my favorite character) and the brick walls he very nearly runs into in trying to solve this case.
The comic relief, like the more serious moments, is reserved but very well done. I've reread some of the Larsson scenes many times.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Everything about the fire is peculiar, from how it started to how it was reported to how it was interpreted. This dramatic incident sets in motion a wonderfully clever, weirdly witty plot.
The reader can look forward to ingenious murder methods, dramatic rescues, lethal mistakes, comic carnal encounters - and lots of engrossing police work.
Superintendent Beck of the Stockholm homicide squad catches cold again and does not particularly shine in this investigation. But he has the admirable skill, so lacking in many supervisors, of letting others shine. Lesser intellects than Beck perform quite brilliantly, despite (or because of) their flaws.
The stand-out is inspector Gunvald Larsson, best known for roughing up thugs and kicking in doors. He's not well liked in the department, but readers who appreciate a man of action will love him.
There's also a brief but welcome reappearance of the incompetent cop duo Krant and Kristiansson, who specialize in avoiding work, being rude to citizens and mishandling any crisis.
The title is perfect, in my opinion. The fire engine winds its way through the plot as a kind of brain teaser, underscoring the whimsical quality of the case.
If you read the introduction, do it last. It quotes some very funny dialog from the book that you'll want to experience fresh.
I smiled a lot at the offbeat, understated humor in the previous Martin Beck mysteries. But this time I positively cackled. The Fire Engine that Disappeared is my favorite book so far in the series. I'm off to the next.
The writing is crisp and sharp. The story moves along quickly and it holds your interest.
Like all of their books there's an interesting factor of learning about Sweden