26 October 2009


I picked up Roseanna last fall during a mystery book sale; I decided I needed to read a few mysteries and since I really fell in love with Stieg Larsson's writing I went for at least one Swede. Roseanna is the first in the Martin Beck series; I'm not really familiar with the crime genre so I made sure I went for a "book 1" just in case.

The storyline seems "ripped from the headlines": a young woman's body found in a lake, no one knows who she is, can the police solve the crime, etc. There is a bit of a stylistic similarity with Larsson's writing and Sjowall/Wahloo's writing, making me wonder if it's a Swedish thing, even though Roseanna was published in the early 1960s. It's very matter-of-fact, no swirling images conjured by a flowing description just a simple statement of fact. This is what Beck thinks. This is what Beck does, eats, travels on, says. Just the facts, making the recounting of the murder and search for the killer all that more chilling because there's no padding between the reader and the investigation.

If I hadn't known the book was written and published in the 1960s I might not have guessed because the crime and investigation seemed very much what is still in vogue in the thriller genre today. Even the killer's psychological state seemed straight from an episode of Criminal Minds. I really didn't notice the absence of computers, Internet, and cell phones; the mark of a good story, yes? I'd like to read a bit more in the Martin Beck series but I need to read the Henning Mankell I've got on my shelves first.

Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge Count: 4/6

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