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Cop Killer (Martin Beck Police Mystery #9)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  1,734 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
The shocking ninth novel in the Martin Beck mystery series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö finds Beck investigating parallel cases that have shocked a small rural community.
In a country town, a woman is brutally murdered and left buried in a swamp. There are two main suspects: her closest neighbor and her ex-husband. Meanwhile, on a quiet suburban street a midnight shootout
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 27th 2010 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1974)
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Oct 24, 2012 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ki hope

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö wrote their Martin Beck series in the sixties and seventies. They wrote ten novels in ten years. They wrote about a time without computers and modern gadgets, but apart from those conveniences themselves, the books could have been written yesterday.

These books are about everything that continues to be wrong in our societies. They are about carceration, misplaced conceptions of justice and the omnipresence of injustice. They are about the militarization of police forces
Nancy Oakes
Mar 21, 2011 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first thought: oh no, there's only one more book left!

It's been about a year now since the events of The Locked Room. Martin Beck's life has gained some stability since he met Rhea Nielsen, the landlady of the victim in the previous novel. Now he's called to the small rural town of Anderslöv, where a young woman, Sigbrit Mård, has gone missing. Described as a "highly normal" person, Sigbrit isn't the type to just up and wander off into another life, so the police suspect foul play. The two m
Apr 17, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I started book nine (out of ten) in the series with some trepidation, hoping nothing terminal will happen to Martin Beck or one of his colleagues. (view spoiler). For more than half of the novel I was then baffled about the title, as the ongoing investigation was about the disappearance, possibly murder, of a divorced single woman from a small village near Malmo, and none of the Criminal Bureau members
I can't help noting the similarity in titles between this book and the first of the Ed McBain books that I read earlier this month. McBain's book was Cop Hater. Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo stated that McBain's work was an inspiration and model for their Martin Beck series, so was this title an homage to McBain?

Whether it was or not, Sjowall/Wahloo's writing style continues to owe much to that established by McBain in his police procedurals. The writing is spare and straightforward, although the
Mar 15, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it
I was a bit taken aback when the book seemed to leave the main mystery about two-thirds of the way through to tackle the case of the 'cop killer' but the two cases do connect up in the end. The name is a bit misleading as the 'cop killer' case is clearly the secondary mystery; however, it does illustrate the authors' point about the police & government bureaucracy perfectly.

This 1973 Swedish book and what the authors are trying to say about relations between police & citizens struck me
The story begins with a young woman, Sigbrit Mård, picked up and murdered on the outskirts of a small town by someone she knows. Martin Beck arrives in Anderslöv to help with the disappearance, with suspicion pointing to her ex-husband, a violent, sea-faring drunk, and Folke Bengtsson, a paroled sex-murderer from an earlier novel. The book is a bit slow though, with the second plot emerging mid-way involving a shooting that is arguably police-triggered and a countrywide search for the accomplice ...more
Jim Coughenour
Feb 27, 2011 Jim Coughenour rated it liked it
I'm in the position of looking at that box of candy, when only one piece is left. Cop Killer was number nine, a bit slower than the last few, but at this point Martin Beck & company are like an old group of friends whom I'm just happy to hang out with. As is their habit, Sjöwall and Wahlöö throw in plenty of wry laughs along the way.

Maria João Fernandes
"This isn't a Sherlock Holmes movie."

O nono livro da série do Inspetor Martin Beck teve o mesmo impacto em mim que os oito que o antecederam. A qualidade nas obras do casal de escritores suecos mantém-se no nível mais elevado e, apesar de terem sido escritas na década de setenta não perderam a relevância e os temas abordados continuam atuais.

"The best part of Murder was that it got you out of the city now and then."

O cenário é a cidade de Mälmo. Uma mulher desaparece e Martin Beck é chamado para
Jan 31, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 9th in Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's series of police procedural novels featuring Stockholm homicide detective Martin Beck is faster paced than some of the previous entries, which is not to diminish those prior books in any way. This one revolves around the disappearance of a woman in southern Sweden, the likelihood that the killer is a man Beck knows from a previous case (depicted in the first Beck novel, ROSEANNA), and Beck's increasing realization that there's more going on than the open-s ...more
Mark Walker
Mar 22, 2017 Mark Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best of the 10, having now read them all. A couple of crimes, and a fair bit of humour. The title is ironic. This book takes pleasure in showing the self serving and incompetence of senior officers, which is heightened by the shoot out with three policemen. Sweden, at the time, is painted as run by impatient idiots who are happy to quickly lock up suspects, and are disinterested in any proper investigation. As left wingers the writers are clear to describe the police as necessary but ...more
Dave Riley
Aug 22, 2009 Dave Riley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is this the best of the 10 written by Sjöwall and Wahloo? Ironic, more bitter and cynical than its predecessors (it is the second last novel published), more than any other it is sharply critical of Swedish society of the mid 70s. If there is a Martin Beck world view, and Martin is no ideologue, this is it. Separated from Stockholm and working a case in Skane there's more opportunity for reflection and for the plot to explore a wry satirical look at the way modern journalism and state power bend ...more
Roderick Hart
Jan 21, 2014 Roderick Hart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the ninth book in the Martin Beck series. As before, the authors use the book to criticise Sweden from a Marxist perspective, including the inadequacies of its welfare state model as they perceived it in 1973. They are also concerned that the Swedish police have gradually become more military in the way they operate and their hostile view of much of the public.

Apart from many incidental comments throughout the book, two examples of this stand out. The first is a botched operation involvi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 04, 2011 Timothy rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
1 1/2 stars.

Personally, I'm scratching my head over all of the great reviews for this book. I admit that it starts off fairly well with the murder of a divorced woman who's body is hidden in the woods and the subsequent search for her killer. Unfortunately, about half way through the book the authors suddenly start up an, apparently, completely different story about two youths involved in a shoot-out with police and the search for one of the survivors of that incident.

It is at this point that th
May 07, 2016 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now reading The Locked Room. One more to go, The Terrorists, and I'll have read all the Martin Beck books, by one of the earliest Swedish mystery genre writers, a husband and wife team. Each book deals as a subplot with the growing ills of Sweden, especially policing. The writing is relevant today and sometimes hard to believe that the series was written in the 60s—70s. The writing is spare, and nuanced, often showcasing truly goofy characters. Martin Beck himself lumbers through work and life, ...more
Jun 06, 2014 AC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-mystery
Excellent. As good as any in the series. The politics in ##8 & 9 gets a little heavy handed and ham handed and, worse, is 1970's dated. But while the authors take that stuff seriously, the characters don't, and so it doesn't impede much.
Erin L
Review of the audiobook.

I thought it was interesting that this book took us back to Roseanna - the first book in the series and brought up questions about the arrest and conviction in that book. Another well done police procedural.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

Han tenido que pasar casi 250 novelas de la excelente colección de novela negra de RBA en su Serie Negra para poder tener publicada, en su totalidad, las diez novelas que componen la serie del comisario Martin Beck; perpetradas por el comprometido matrimonio sueco Maj Sjöwall y Per Wahlöö, posiblemente nos encontremos ante una de las series más influyentes en el género europeo, no sólo para los nórdicos, punto de obligada referencia para enten
Oct 13, 2011 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lukasz Pruski
"Sergeant Gustav Borglund, thirty-seven, died this morning of injuries received in connection with an exchange of fire between policemen and two armed men in Ljunghusen. Two other policemen were seriously wounded in the same gun battle."

Cop Killer (1974) is the ninth novel in the legendary series of Swedish police procedurals with strong social issues component - the so-called Martin Beck series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. I have been re-reading the series in chronological order and this is n
Aug 09, 2008 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Although this ninth is only the penultimate volume of Maj Sjöwall’s and Per Wahlöö’s consistently excellent series of police procedurals, it feels like a summing up of what has gone before, of things coming to a head and to an end. The most obvious cause of that is probably that Cop Killer harkens back to the first two novels by bringing back the murderers featured in them (which is why it is a good to not read Cop Killer before Roseanna and The Man Who Went Up In Smoke, unless you really don’t ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Cop Killer, by Maj Sjöwall, Per WahlööA. Narrated by Tom Wiener, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

Blackstone Audio has been producing these books now over the last year. Unfortunately, while they have usually been in order, this one isn’t. So, with 7 and 8 as yet unread, this is book 9 in the series. It’s interesting, knowing that these books were coming to an end, and maybe it’s only a retrospective observation, but it seems to me the authors were bringing this series t
Nov 16, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
The first time I heard of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo books, I was recently reading a list of vintage crime novels. Their series, Martin Beck police mysteries(10 of them) were all listed there. Being unfamiliar with them I kept their names in the back of my mind noting the titles of their police procedurals, a genre I am especially fond of having read all of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct books (which I consider to be the best of the genre). These books, all published by 1975, are how good books in t ...more
Ben Thurley
Jul 24, 2014 Ben Thurley rated it liked it
Cop Killer represents Sjöwall and Wahlöö not quite at the top at the top of their game, but still a good read.

The story begins with a crisp and disturbing immediacy, as a young woman, Sigbrit Mård, is picked up and murdered on the outskirts of a small country town by someone known to her. When Martin Beck arrives in Anderslöv to help with the case, it quickly becomes apparent that the two main suspects are her ex-husband, a violent drunk, and Folke Bengtsson – the now paroled sex-murderer from
Rog Harrison
Sep 07, 2014 Rog Harrison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"This is actually written by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. I first came across this series over thirty years ago and I think I have read this one twice before. I don't often see their books in the library these days so I was really pleased to see this one. In fact I am seriously thinking of buying all ten books in the series as I am sure I will want to re-read them all several times.

As this book is set in southern Sweden for a lot of the time rather than Stockholm some of the regular cast of chara
Jun 20, 2009 Sun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a woman is reported missing in the small town of Anderslöv, Martin Beck, Chief of Sweden's National Homicide Squad is summoned. There's no indication the woman is even dead, but for the fact that convicted sex killer Folke Bengtsson is her closest neighbour. While in Skåne, Martin Beck and Lennart Kollberg are aided by sanguine and oddly-named local policeman Herrgott Allwright. But their investigation is interrupted by a shootout between three duty officers and two teens in nearby Malmö. C ...more
Jesus Flores
Jan 30, 2017 Jesus Flores rated it really liked it

Cop killer

This one was an interesting one, the case was kind of solved because of luck, but all the detective work Beck did to find the hints and evidence that would help them capture the killer was very interesting. Also one mayor character makes a big decision, unfortunately only one book left.

4 stars

Beck goes to some small town where a woman is missing, they have an immediate suspect, the woman’s neighbor is the guy Beck captured as the murderer of the case in the first book. But Beck is not
Sep 03, 2015 Nathalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
De volgende in het rijtje rond Inspecteur Beck: De politiemoordenaar. Collega's Martin Beck, Lennart Kolberg en Gunvald Larsson zijn op verschillende zaken gezet. In een klein dorpje in Zuid-Zweden is er een vrouw verdwenen waarbij men de hulp van de recherche nodig heeft, waar Martin Beck op af gaat. Bij een misgelopen aanhouding komt een politiepatrouille in onzachte ervaring met een aantal dieven, waarbij één agent sterft. Vanaf dat moment stuurt het hoofd van de recherche, Malm, zijn stoottr ...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 Police Mystery (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Roseanna (Martin Beck, #1)
  • 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)
  • The Terrorists (Martin Beck, #10)
  • The Martin Beck Series: Books 1-4

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