The Locked Room: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (8) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
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The stunning eighth installment in the Martin Beck mystery series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö is a masterful take on a classic locked room mystery.
A young blonde in sunglasses robs a bank and kills a hapless citizen. Across town, a corpse with a bullet shot through its heart is found in a locked room–with no gun at the scene. The crimes seem disparate, but to Martin Beck they are two pieces of the same puzzle, and solving it becomes the one way he can escape the pains of his failed marriage and the lingering effects of a near-fatal bullet wound. Exploring the ramifications of egotism and intellect, luck and accident, this tour de force of detection bears the unmistakable substance and gravity of real life.
otherwise have gone free. It's not just the reader who feels sympathy towards the felons, either. In the sixth novel, Murder at the Savoy, Beck is moved to feel more sorry for the killer than he is for the victim, a wealthy, corrupt businessman who, we are gently coaxed into thinking, pretty much deserved to die. Unlike the majority of crime novelists writing at this time, certainly Swedish ones, Sjowall and Wahloo deliberately present the characters, their settings and their histories in such a
score of customers, seemed full to bursting point. The fair sex was represented by the two blondes behind the counter. All the clients were male. Coming up to them, the barmaid leaned over their table and gave them a glimpse of her large pink nipples and a whiff of her none-too-pleasant odour of sweat and perfume. After Malmström had got his gimlet and Mohrén his Chivas without ice, they looked around for Hauser. They'd no idea what he looked like, though they knew he had a reputation as a
Tyrolean hat, marched on ahead of them, leading the way to Hoff's flat. Hoff was a cheerful man in his thirties. He received them into his family circle, which consisted of his wife, two children, and a dachshund. Later that evening the four men went out and had supper together and talked about their common interests. Both Hoff and Hauser turned out to be particularly experienced in this line of business, and each possessed specialised knowledge in several useful fields. Moreover, having just
silent solitary hours after Mona had gone to sleep. It was rare for her phone to ring. She herself had no one she could call; and when the phone was finally cut off because she hadn't paid her bill, she didn't even notice the difference. She felt like a prisoner in her own home. But gradually her imprisonment began to feel like security, and existence outside the walls of her dreary suburban flat seemed steadily more unreal and remote. Sometimes at night, as she wandered aimlessly between the
into the wastepaper basket. The South Police Station was by no means deserted. Somewhere not far away he could hear a couple of colleagues discussing something in shrill, indignant voices. He was not the least bit curious as to whatever it was they were talking about. Leaving the building, he went to Midsommarkransen metro station, where he had to wait a rather long time for a train. It looked okay on the outside, but the interior had been grossly vandalized - its seats were slashed and