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Roseanna (Martin Beck #1)
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Roseanna (Martin Beck #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  5,829 ratings  ·  525 reviews
The masterful first novel in the Martin Beck series of mysteries by the internationally renowned crime writing duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, finds Beck hunting for the murderer of a lonely traveler.On a July afternoon, a young woman's body is dredged from Sweden's beautiful Lake Vattern. With no clues Beck begins an investigation not only to uncover a murderer but also t ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 12th 1976 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1965)
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Best Crime & Mystery Books
256th out of 4,598 books — 10,589 voters
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67th out of 808 books — 773 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
"He looked tired and his sunburned skin seemed yellowish in the gray light. His face was lean with a broad forehead and a strong jaw. His mouth, under his short, straight nose, was thin and wide with two deep lines near the corners. When he smiled, you could see his healthy, white teeth. His dark hair was combed straight back from the even hairline and had not yet begun to gray. The look in his soft blue eyes was clear and calm. He was thin but not especially tall and somewhat round-shouldered. ...more
So first off, this has nothing to do with that Toto song. Just thought I’d get that out of the way right off the bat.

This was published in 1965 and was the first in a series of ten books about Swedish police investigator Martin Beck. When the body of a woman who was raped and murdered is pulled out of a Swedish canal, Beck is called in to investigate, and he’ll spend months pulling together the facts he’ll need to solve it.

This has an interesting introduction by the Swedish crime writer Henning
This is sort of like a police procedural version of John La Carre's Smiley novels. They aren't jargon littered like Le Carre's novels but the hero, Martin Beck, is sort of a non-traditional hero of the same ilk of George Smiley. Beck is a depressed middle-aged man, his only real quirk is that he likes building model boats, he doesn't like being around groups of people, coffee makes him feel sick, he's resigned to having to deal with his family who he doesn't seem to have enough energy to really ...more
When I finished Roseanna again last night I thought I should write a review talking about how rare it is for me to reread a book, and how Sjöwall & Wahloo have conjured something exceptional from me as a reader. When I started thinking about how rare it is for me to reread, however, I realized what a load of crap that is.

I am a rereader. I reread quite often, actually. Most of the books I reread, admittedly, are due to the classes I teach. I've read Hamlet and The Tempest and One Day in the
The clarity of the writing and translation held me in thrall. In Henning Mankell's introduction to the reprint out in late 2008, he mentions that this husband and wife team inspired the new breed of police procedurals by the greats we read now. The view of the cop as a flawed individual with physical and personal issues was a new concept when they began. The slow, solid build-up of tension in Roseanna was so subtle that the denoument, when it came, had me actually gasping for breath. A resoundin ...more
The body of a young woman is found at the locks of Borenshult. The local police call in Martin Beck and his team from Stockholm to help identify her and catch her killer. Thorough and meticulous investigations follow.

There's a strong sense of patience and time in Roseanna, as in Sjowall & Wahloo's The Laughing Policeman. I like the reality of long stretches of time, the deliberate treatment of procedural details that, instead of being tedious, give a heightened sense of reality and show the
Book Review

 photo majandper_zps98e4c012.jpg
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

With an introduction by Henning Mankell (he of the famous Kurt Wallander series) and writes:

"I have a strong and indisputable memory that back then I thought of the novel as straightforward and clear, a convincing story presented in an equally convincing form. [...] Today as I reread the novel I see that my first impression still holds true. The book has hardly aged at all."

Roseanna is remarkable, especially where it concerns Henning's last remark. It could h
The Martin Beck series is supposed to amazing, I was very excited to finally find the first book so I could find out why. So far, so ordinary.

I can understand how it might have been revolutionary in Swedish crime circles, being the first of its kind to move away from the classic British mystery style of Agatha Christie but for me reading it in 2012 it doesn't have that shock to the senses factor it might have had in 1965.

This mixture of Ed McBain's police procedural style and Georges Simenon's p
João Carlos

Maj Sjöwall (n. 1935) e Per Wahlöö (1926 – 1975)

Per Wahlöö (1926 – 1975) e Maj Sjöwall (n. 1935) dois escritores suecos, marido e mulher, unidos pelo amor e pelas convicções políticas, os verdadeiros criadores do romance policial nórdico, com o início na série protagonizada pelo inspector Martin Beck, rigorosamente planeada, intitulada "A História de um Crime", 10 livros, cada livro com 30 capítulos, no total 300 capítulos de verdadeira e genuína literatura policial, publicados originalmente
Well, this is a hell of a way to introduce a character. It was only when I came to enter the fact I was reading ‘Roseanna’ onto this website that I realised it is the inaugural book of the Martin Beck series (as you may guess, I’m more of a ‘pick up and read’ type of guy, than a ‘research deeply beforehand’ type of guy’). There was the legend in front of me: ‘Martin Beck, 1’. And the interesting thing is that by the time I did add it to this website, I was already sixty pages through and hadn’t ...more
I found out about this book through a recommendation for something similar the Henning Mankell, and it is revealing that Mankell is the one who writes the foreword of this true classic of police procedural novels.
Indeed, Kurt Wallander and Martin Beck seem cut from the same cloth, 40 years apart: middle aged, slightly depressive, with broken marriages, stubborn and unrelenting in the pursuit of justice. I'm not talking about any plagiarizing, each series stands on its own merits and has distinct
The Swedish-noir (Swedish-svart?) family tree runs just so: Martin Beck (grandfather) → Kurt Wallander (father) → Mikael Blomkvist (son).

Now I admit that my exposure to this family is limited by my North Americanism, by the translations that filter their way across the Atlantic, by the culture(s) that make(s) these works popular, but even if there are branches and roots of the tree that I can't see, the relationship between these stories is undeniable.

So it feels to me like Martin Beck -- more s
The the ten book series (set in Sweden) taken as a whole is an exciting, moving, real-life exploration of the lives of a team of cops and their ciminal investigations. Sjowall and Wahloo, a husband-and-wife writing team (Sjowall died in 1975) use crime fiction as a way of talking about the inherent wickedness of the capitalist system, but politics isn't what the books are about: they're about crime, and justice, and heartbreak, and strength, and all the other things we read crime fiction for. If ...more
Maria João Fernandes
Este é o primeiro livro da série policial do Martin Beck, do casal sueco Maj Sojwall and Peter Wahloo. Escrito em 1965 é um livro surpreendentemente actual.

"Roseanna" narra-nos uma história sobre uma rapariga assassinada, que foi encontrada no canal de Göta, na cidade de Motala, na Suécia. Consequentemente, o inspector Martin Beck é chamado de Estocolmo para ajudar na investigação do crime. O primeiro e principal obstáculo é a identidade da vitima, que ninguém conhece ou dá pela sua falta. Por e
roseanna is a melancholy novel: i felt sad for the victim, and sad for the detectives (especially martin beck - the titular detective of the series) investigating her death. as they sought to discover the mystery behind her death and found out more about her, i felt worse and worse. i think the novel tries to underscore the fact that people are complex, that they act and react as the result of their experience and predispositions. roseanna reminds us that pain comes to all, and it isn't really a ...more
Roseanna is probably the best detective novel I have ever read. It is the first in a series of detective Martin Beck murder-mysteries by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, a Swedish couple that collaborated until Wahlöö died in 1975.

The preface by the more famous Swedish detective fiction writer Henning Mankell points out that this book offers a wonderful depiction of Sweden in the 1960s. In that decade, Sweden was a very homogeneous society so that any foreign visitors or immigrants were quite exotic
Not too long ago I read my first Martin Beck book by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö--The Man on the Balcony. That book was a little intense for me (it involved the murders of children...something I have a really hard time reading about), but I enjoyed the writing so much, I wanted to give the series another try. So, I went back to the beginning and picked up Roseanna from the library.

Roseanna tells the story of a nameless young woman whose body is found in Sweden's beautiful Lake Vattern. The canal
Allan MacDonell
Personal experience prohibits me from imagining husband-and-wife teams successfully collaborating on a vacation or living-room color scheme, never mind together producing ten consecutive homicide procedurals that combine to create a whole—the Story of Crime—hailed as the world’s “first great series of police thrillers.” Roseanna is the first of the books written in tandem by Maj Sjowall (wife) and Per Wahloo (husband), introducing phlegmatic and depressed detective Martin Beck of the Stockholm P ...more
Quite outstanding, and I can see how (written in 1965) this was a game-changer for the genre.

BTW -- let me state here that these five-stars are to be measured, as I suppose with my other ratings, only in the context of the genre in which the book was written -- not as compared, say, to Pynchon or Virgil.
I spotted this set of books on the crime fiction shelves in the library and I had to look more closely. I was intrigued by the numbering, by the twin Swedish names, and I was sure that a couple of the titles rang bells.

I picked up this, the first book, and I discovered that a series of ten books exactly had been planned from the start, by a husband and wife team. That there had been awards,and film adaptations. That back in the early sixties these books changed the genre. They were the first rea
Nov 18, 2013 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I liked it a lot. Very Norwegian. I say this because (like other Norwegian books) they treat crime as something done by insane people who are to be pitied, not loathed or hated. They also are very methodical and relentless in their pursuit of criminals. This took place in the sixties, and that was very interesting. Beatles, no cell phones, telegraphs, etc. Since the villain is a rapist and murderer, some things get disgusting at times. Not description-wise, the Norwegians are very good at being ...more
A friend of mine, knowing that i like mystery books, told me to read Roseanna. And she was right. The book reminded me of a noir film. Martin Beck is the classic detective you know from the "old" movies: He doesn't speak much, he uses his 6th sense and his intuition... I couldn't stop making pictures in my mind of how he would look like.
And it was interesting to see how police used to work. I mean, it's 1965. No pcs, no internet, no CSI units that could have the resolts in 2 days... It felt stra
Ben Loory
some lady on npr told me to read this the other day, and i'm glad she did, because it was great. i guess all mysteries are about bringing the past into the present, but i've never felt that so clearly as in this book. really brilliant. and emotionally compelling in a way that's rarely found in any book, let alone a mystery.

sjowall and wahloo wrote 9 more martin beck books, and i will be reading them all. quite soon, i imagine. unless i am murdered and thrown off a boat.
Claudia Sesto
Una donna viene ritrovata in una chiusa di un fiume, tanti battelli percorrono quel corso e proprio da uno di quelli è stata gettata, prima di esser stata stuprata. La polizia parte dal niente, non si sa chi sia la donna, nessuno si ricorda di lei e nessuno ha dichiarato la sua scomparsa. Si scopre che è una turista americana, Roseanna, una bibliotecaria solitaria che voleva vedere le bellezze prima dei paesi nordici e poi dell'Europa, ma la sua vita le è stata tolta da uno psicopatico al quale ...more
Roseanna è il primo romanzo della serie dedicata a Peter Beck, investigatore svedese. La serie è scritta insieme da Maj Sjöwall e Per Wahlöö, moglie e marito, negli anni Sessanta, e appartiene al genere del police procedural, ispirandosi ai romanzi polizieschi americani.
Jigar Brahmbhatt
There is a compelling, alluring quality to the Scandinavian crime genera. This is my first Martin Back, a series which is majorly attributed to have started it all, resulting in such children as Wallander and Lizbeth Salander. I am actually blown away by this book. There are many supposed rules of writing a good murder mystery, but this one twists them all and emerges more than just a crime novel. Its beauty is in its quiet assurance. A body of a girl is found in water. Identity Unknown. This is ...more
Saturday Drama - BBC Radio 4:
Inspector Beck investigates when the body of an unknown girl is found in a canal dredger.
Michelle Karbon
I have been spoiled with white knuckle murder mysteries that I almost didn't finish this book. Written in 1965, it really made me slow down and think about crimes and how they were solved back then. I think this book was a breath of fresh air, mostly because I'm not used to the old detective or manual solving of a murder. I gave this book a chance and really learned how murders were solved back in the 60s. This book took place mostly in Sweden, with many references to other parts of the world, i ...more
I've decided to make this the summer of Scandinavian mysteries - I've got a lot to catch up on! After listening to several contemporary authors, I decided to go back to the beginning. I really enjoyed this book! Much of my delight was in knowing that it's considered the first of the modern Scandinavian crime novels, especially those that contain political commentary. The writing is spare and economical and packs a punch in about half the length of modern books. The contrast between 1965 and toda ...more
A naked woman was dredged up from the bottom of Sweden's beautiful Lake Vattern one July day. Where had she come from? How had she got there? And why? . . . a rash of brutal muggings and child sex-murders with the elusive mugger perhaps the only person in Stockholm to have seen the murderer . . . the search for a hard-drinking well-known Swedish journalist in Budapest, who has vanished without a trace . . . eight people were shot to death in a Stockholm bus, with one of the dead being an ambitio ...more
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Maj Sjöwall is a Swedish author and translator. She is best known for the collaborative work with her partner Per Wahlöö on a series of ten novels about the exploits of Martin Beck, a police detective in Stockholm. In 1971, the fourth of these books, The Laughing Policeman (a translation of Den skrattande polisen, originally published in 1968) won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America ...more
More about Maj Sjöwall...

Other Books in the Series

Martin Beck (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck #2)
  • The Man on the Balcony (Martin Beck, #3)
  • The Laughing Policeman (Martin Beck #4)
  • The Fire Engine That Disappeared  (Martin Beck #5)
  • Murder at the Savoy (Martin Beck #6)
  • The Abominable Man (Martin Beck #7)
  • The Locked Room (Martin Beck #8)
  • Cop Killer (Martin Beck #9)
  • The Terrorists (Martin Beck #10)
  • The Martin Beck Series: Books 1-4
The Laughing Policeman (Martin Beck #4) The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck #2) The Man on the Balcony (Martin Beck, #3) The Locked Room (Martin Beck #8) The Fire Engine That Disappeared  (Martin Beck #5)

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