Roseanna: Martin Beck novel

Roseanna cover

 

This is the first book of the Martin Beck series. His name is English among all the Swedish names in the novel, which I found a bit strange, but interesting.

Written in 1965, it can be the novel that started the so-called Swedish crime genre in fiction.

The novel starts with the discovery of a dead body.. a naked white woman with dark hair in the canal.. who is she? Is she a swede? The police asks Martin Beck to investigate this brutal sexual crime.Lennart Kollberg and Frederik Melander are introduced in this book.

It is quit short just 220 pages long.. the description is to the point not flowery.. One can feel the cold of the winter.. the sound of the wind in your ear.. the white/grey slush on the pavement.

Martin I would say is not the best of husbands.. his relationship with his wife is so realistic.. he gets bored.. he doesn’t sleep at night.. he is a workoholic.. not much of a drinker.. he smokes.. he is tough but he is a human; he wants to know this victim.. where is she from? what did she do in life? why was she killed?

The identity of the woman is revealed and her name is Roseanna as shown from the title of the book.

Roseanna is a police procedural, the case complicated by the fact that the witnesses are so widely dispersed and by the time that passed since the crime (she was not immediately discovered). Indeed, the investigation, too, proceeds very slowly: more than a week after they found the body, for example, they were still scratching their heads:

“We haven’t learned a thing since then. We don’t know who she is, we don’t know the scene of the crime, and we have no suspects. “

Piece by piece — though at a very slow pace, at least until the end — they put it all together. The procedural part is certainly solid — the expected twists and turns and false hopes, and an interesting mix of material, from the interviews with the victim’s friends in Nebraska to the persons of interest closer to home.

8/10

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2 thoughts on “Roseanna: Martin Beck novel

  1. Martin Graiter says:

    Martin Beck may seem like an English name, but it is a Swedish one as well. Martin, as you may know, is of Roman origin and means warrior or soldier, the word coming from Mars, god of war. Beck is the archaic spelling of the Swedish word “bäck” (same pronounciation as beck though) meaning stream, creek, rill, brook, beck, rivulet. I heard that Maj Sjöwall derived the name from some relative of hers.

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