The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck #2)
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The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck #2)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,791 ratings  ·  187 reviews
The masterful second novel in the Martin Beck series of mysteries by the internationally renowned crime writing duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, finds Beck searching for a well-known Swedish journalist who has disappeared without a trace.Inspector Martin Beck of the Stockholm Homicide Squad has his summer vacation abruptly terminated when the top brass at the foreign office...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 12th 1976 by Vintage (first published 1966)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Martin Beck, the born detective and famous observer, constantly occupied making useless observations and storing them away for future use. Doesn’t even have bats in the belfry-they couldn’t get in for all the crap in the way.”

For those fans of Kurt Wallander there will be a deja vu moment when you start reading a Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo novel. Henning Mankell has admitted he was heavily influenced by this series. My relationship with Martin Beck is a little better than my relationship with K...more
With the first snow storm of the year hitting my area, it seemed like a great time to pick up a Swedish mystery novel. I figured I could put on a comfy sweater and sip some coffee while reading about the Stockholm police tracking criminals across a gloomy winter landscape that matched the view out my window. Unfortunately, the book is set during the summer, and the main character spends most of his time in hot and humid Hungary. So I got very confused and ended up putting on my shorts and going...more
Dec 25, 2012 Brad rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks Wallander is the cat's pyjamas
A Swedish national, a "sports" journalist, goes missing in Budapest, behind the "Iron Curtain." It's the height of the Cold War, and Swedish homicide detective Martin Beck, about to enjoy his vacation, is sent, instead, to look into the disappearance.

A Canadian boy would expect a 70s Budapest to be riddled with spies and spying and suspicion. A Canadian boy would expect oppressiveness and oppression at every Hungarian turn. A Canadian boy would expect high adventure mixed with the KGB and CIA....more
I think I'm starting to understand Martin Beck now.

If Roseanna was a very good first book that I had some problems with then The Man Who Went Up In Smoke is a very good second book that tackles some of those issues and really gives you a feel for the protagonist Martin Beck.

This time Martin is recalled from his family vacation and despatched to Budapest at the request of a government department who fears that a Swedish journalist has disappeared behind "The Iron Curtain," but far from being a co...more
My third Martin Beck police procedural, although some lists consider this the second in the series. This is a standalone story, so the order of reading is not that important. Although the emotional intensity is dialed down compared to Roseanna and The Man on the Balcony, the Sjowall / Wahloo presentation is as convincingly realistic as usual re. the "banality of evil".

The book starts with Martin Beck leaving office for his summer vacation, only to be interrupted by the call of duty the very firs...more
At their best these books have a great no fuss, straightforwardness. These are police procedurals with little in the way of histrionics, leftfield plot twists or characters whose motivations don’t have much relation to reality. The characters at the centre of these books are professionals who get on with their job – they interview the suspects, pull the pieces together and arrive at the correct conclusion. Indeed in this volume even the reveal of the killer is done in an understated, without thr...more
Book Review

With an introduction by VaL McDermid (she of the famous Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series). And if you haven't ever seen the BBC America televised series Wire In The Blood (available on Netflix as well) and if you like psycholigical serial killer dramas, than this an absolute must-see. The show is excellent!

McDermid writes: So many of the elements that have become integral to the point of cliche in the police procedural subgenre started life in these ten novels. [...] The books of Pe...more
I could hear the cigarettes and bourbon tearing apart narrator Tom Weiner's vocal chords as I listened to his reading of The Man Who Went Up in Smoke, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Weiner's voice adds aural texture to a book overflowing with atmospheric texture; he compliments the Martin Beck tale perfectly with his slurry gravelly voice.

And that's seems important to me here in a way that it doesn't in all audiobooks. I think it is because of how important this series is to its genre.

Poor Martin Beck. He just can't catch a break. He has just started his month-long summer vacation with his family on a small island off the coast of Sweden when he receives a call to return to duty.

It seems that a Swedish journalist has gone missing in Hungary and Beck's superiors want him to go to Budapest to act as liaison to the investigation. He's told that he can refuse the assignment since he is technically on vacation. But, of course, he can't. Not really. So he packs his bag and heads of...more
Based thus far only on the first in this mystery (police procedural) series and now this second title, I declare this series by wife / husband team Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo to be Compulsively Readable, as in everybody go away because I'm reading! Main character Martin Beck is an intelligent Everyman with subtle character quirks. The story in this book takes Beck behind the then Iron Curtain to Budapest (mid-60's), but with no emphasis on the Cold War - the authors make no East versus West poli...more
Swedish police detective Martin Beck escapes from his family holiday when invited to investigate a missing person case in Budapest.

I love Beck's taciturnity and, indeed, the authorial taciturnity. The book is written in plain, sparse sentences. Beck's thinking is private, revealed only in actions. His relationships are economical of words and gestures. This gives the writing a dead pan, sardonic quality - bone dry black comedy. The professional weariness of the police characters is palpable. The...more
Clever story revealing more about Martin Beck the detective inspector who heads up the police investigations written by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. Called the Godparents of Scandinavian crime fiction this series of 10 books are a given to place all else in an historical context.
Well paced and always interesting, the story is of an interupted holiday to investigate a sensitive national who has gone missing whilst in Hungary. I like the fact that the reader can play detective and speculate as they...more
Inspector Martin Beck is called in off his summer vacation to speak to the Foreign Office about a missing Swedish journalist in Hungary. Alf Matsson was last seen the day he checked into his Budapest hotel. The newspaper Matsson works at is making noises about a front page story during a sensitive political time and the Swedish government wants Matsson found quickly. Beck flies off to Hungary to investigate, staying at the same hotel Matsson checked into. Soon he's being followed by police and o...more
Paul Patterson
Dec 11, 2009 Paul Patterson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Scandinavian Mystery Fans
I am hoping to make my way through the whole canon of Maj and Per. I think I made a bit of an error listening to the audiobook rather than actually reading this volume. The trouble was that the reader was interpreting this as a Raymond Chandler sort of story and used the diction of noir America. There seems to me to be just too much humanism in these early police procedurals to class them as noir per se.

As for the book itself Martin Beck's character has compassionate understanding and has the ab...more
So far I've read three of Sjowall and Wahloo's Martin Beck mysteries- while "The Laughing Policeman" was the best, "Roseanna" and this one were both very good- dark and philosophical, and yet fast-moving and fun to read. "The Man Who Went Up In Smoke" is supposedly a bit different than the rest of the books in the series, because a lot of the action takes place overseas (in Budapest), with only the beginning and the end back in Sweden. But I think that just gives the writers a little more room t...more
Poetess Sowell and her husband wrote a series of ten detective stories featuring police inspector Martin Beck. They have been well translated from the Swedish and are delightful. In this, the third of the series, Beck has abruptly been recalled from his vacation by his chief to investigate the strange disappearance in Budapest of a journalist. Afraid they might have another Wallenberg case on their hands, the Swedish Foreign Office has asked the Swedish police to begin an investigation – unoffic...more
Maria João Fernandes
"The Man Who Went Up In Smoke" é o segundo livro da famosa série sueca do Martin Beck.

No final de "Roseanna" Martin Beck vai finalmente tirar umas férias merecidas. Contudo, estas são interrompidas pelo seu chefe, que lhe pede para ir até à Hungria. A sua missão é encontrar Alf Matsson, um jornalista que desapareceu misteriosamente. Curiosamente, o nosso inspector não fica muito chateado por voltar ao trabalho sem usufruir de um único dia de descanso. Afinal de contas, a sua vida familiar é tud...more
Karla Butler
After reading Rosanna, I was instantly intrigued to read the next installment of the Martin Beck series. By now, we are familiar with Beck's work colleagues and also have a good idea of his family life. (or non-existent family life, I should say!) Book #2 takes us to Budapest. The wonderful thing about Sjowall and Wahloo is that they describe the setting of their books so well. I can literally picture myself in Martin Beck's hotel room looking out of the window over the Danube and seeing the boa...more
Nancy Oakes
The Man Who Went Up in Smoke is #2 in the series featuring Inspector Martin Beck. It's his vacation time, and his family has taken a cottage on an island off the coast of Sweden. But only a day into vacation time, he's recalled to work for an important case. It seems that the foreign office is concerned about a missing journalist, Alf Matsson, who was last seen in Budapest. While Beck's not clear as to why the foreign office should be so concerned, he takes on the case, starting in Matsson's las...more
This is one of my favourite instalments in this series. Martin Beck's long-anticipated holiday is rudely interrupted when he summoned by his superiors to visit Budapest and investigate the disappearance of a Swedish journalist. While there he meets several interesting characters, especially the Hungarian officer with whom he investigates the case, and a young woman whose ulterior motives towards him soon become apparent. The city of Budapest is beautifully described, which adds to the enjoyment...more
Bev Hankins
The Man Who Went up in Smoke is the second novel by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö in the Martin Beck series. In this one, Martin--a policeman through and through--gives up his summer holiday with his family to try and track down a missing journalist and avoid an international incident. He finds himself leaving his island off the coast of Sweden to head to Hungary to search for Alf Matsson who has vanished without a trace from his hotel in Budapest. Matsson checked into the hotel, spent a whole half...more
The Man Who Went Up in Smoke is the second in a ten-book series of detective Martin Beck stories. The main action takes place in Budapest, which is still behind the Iron Curtain. I enjoyed the description of the scene along the Danube and at the sulphur baths.

I'm getting used to the rhythm of Beck's police work. Faced with a hopeless case, Beck perseveres and triumphs improbably after an extended period of futility. Everything somehow suddenly falls into place. Beck is obsessed with his task and...more
This is the 2nd book in the Martin Beck series. It is not as good as the 1st book Roseanna. Martin Beck is out of his comfort zone in this novel, he is investigating the disappearance of a Swedish journalist in Budapest.

One must remember that the event take place in the Eastern Bloc during the cold war. This investigation is not official, Martin must be a tourist and a policeman at the same time. He gets help from unexpected sources in Hungary.

There is a lot of water/ sea/ boats/ ferries descri...more
James Thane
This is the second book in the Martin Beck series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. It's something of an oddity in that much of the book takes place in Budapest, rather than in Sweden where the rest of the series is set.

Stockholm homicide detective Martin Beck is looking forward to beginning his long-awaited vacation, but only hours into it he's called back to investigate the disappearance of a Swedish journalist. Beck reluctantly agrees to take up the search which leads him to Budapest and finds h...more
Rachel Hirstwood
martin Beck 2nd book - Beck is called upon to investigate a disappearance during the first days of his summer holiday - he gets a whole month the lucky man!

This book didn't seem to suffer from the lethargy that seemed to occur in Rosanne because Beck doesn't have to wait three weeks for a response to his letters in this case. There is no forensic requirement in this case, and very little traditional policing in fact, and I rather preferred it that way as I got frustrated in the first book waitin...more
Ben Loory
i'm tempted to say i like martin beck more than sherlock holmes, but i'm not really sure that's the case. but whatever... i really love this series. it's so calm and mysterious and nobody ever really seems to do anything; they all just wander around through the world looking at things and drinking coffee and noticing people's socks and stuff like that. then eventually there's a break in the case and suddenly i'm sitting in my house crying for the plight of humanity at large. very strange. bummer...more
Ben Thurley
The second in the series of Martin Beck novels, this is an effective and understated police procedural from a Swedish couple who were clearly working up to big things.

On the first day of a long-awaited family holiday, Martin Beck is called in by his superiors and by the Foreign Ministry to investigate the disappearance of Alf Matsson, a journalist who has disappeared in Budapest, behind the Iron Curtain.

Alf Matsson had come to Budapest on the twenty-second of July. He had been seen at the passpo
Mar 10, 2014 Tom added it
Beck #2
Un periodista de los bajos fondos desaparece en un viaje a Budapest. Un policía sueco debe acercarse a esta ciudad para hacer averiguaciones discretas sobre su paradero. Luego vuelve a Suecia a investigar y allí consigue resolver el caso.

El matrimonio formado Sjöwall y Wahlöö parece ser que revolucionaron el mundo de la novela negra en su momento, presentando un protagonista policía con sus neuras, dudas, etc. En fin, un precedente de Mankell y su Wallander.

Todo hay que decil-lo: esta novela no...more
Terrific introduction by Val McDermid, where she praises the author as one of the earliest writers of police procedurals. In Book #2, Martin Beck is sent to Budapest to try to ascertain what happened to a journalist, who seems to have vanished into thin air within an hour of checking into his hotel there. With precious little local police support, Beck tries to solve the mystery grasping at threads, until he stumbles into the explanation and is nearly killed.
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Scandinavian Crim...: The Man Who Went Up in Smoke 1 12 Mar 12, 2012 01:53PM  
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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...
Roseanna (Martin Beck #1) The Laughing Policeman (Martin Beck #4) 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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