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The Man Who Went Up in Smoke: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (Martin Beck Police Mystery #2)

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,195 Ratings  ·  256 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
ebook, 0 pages
Published December 8th 2010 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1966)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 09, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nordic-noir
”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
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 really liked it  ·  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.
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
Mar 19, 2016 Marwan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this one last Thursday and it was fine. I mean the writing was smooth, the story is interesting with few twists. However it lacks the thrill, and the progress is very slow. but I guess each writer has his own style. Also what I find interesting is that when the case is solved, rather than feeling satisfaction and triumph, Inspector Beck express gloom and despair instead. The reason according to the writer is due to his introverted personality.
The story begins when inspector Martin Bec
Mar 03, 2012 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
Feb 27, 2015 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.

I am addicted to this series!!!!

The case is simple: find a man who disapeared in Budapeste. Easy, right?! Especially for Beck... yet nothing seems what we like to be.

Beck is in vacation, poor guy don't know he is about to go to another nice and he can't have fun. This book is more slow that the first. Nothing happens until 70%. Anyways. also someone is spying on Martin Beck activites...and the man Beck is to most cool guy ever. He is just calm even when he is almost killed.

Alf is a journalist wh
Mal Warwick
Nov 09, 2015 Mal Warwick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some mystery novelists trace the origins of their craft to any one of several nineteenth century writers: Edgar Allen Poe, Willkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others. But there appears to be a consensus among contemporary writers—at least among those who are partial to police procedurals—that the leading source of inspiration among modern authors was the Swedish husband-and-wife team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.

Writing in the 1960s and 70s, Sjöwall and Wahlöö produced a series of ten nove
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
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
Quite a few four and five stars for this one. I must be missing something.

From the uninteresting characters to the story that was boring in every way possible, I just could not care for this book. most of the time, the policeman goes around and questions people and goes back to his hotel to eat dinner and sleep. Nothing about the story was interesting to me. The ending was not worth the 170 previous pages and I felt like I wasted my time reading it. I expected something better, something that p
João Carlos

Maj Sjöwall (n. 1935) e Per Wahlöö (1926 – 1975) – os “inventores” do policial nórdico.

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, deram início a uma 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 litera
May 11, 2013 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kris McCracken
Jul 03, 2016 Kris McCracken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic book from Wahoo and Sjöwall. This time, Martin Beck pursues a case in 1966 Budapest, rather than Stockholm. The plot itself is eminently believable, the characterisation spot on. Moreover, the whole thing moves at a cracking pace, even as our narrator struggles through languid, steamy summer days and a seemingly uncrackable case.

I'm making a great effort at resisting tearing right through the entire Beck collection, but if they're all as cracking as this one, I don't fancy my c
Jul 22, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
I've been through this book yet again on my way to finishing this entire series for the third time in five years, and I can tell you it just doesn't get old.

The writing may be simple, but there is power in the words of Sjowall and Wahloo. And Martin Beck and his fellows are some of the most convincing cops in all of crime fiction. There really is no other group of police or investigators I would rather read about, not Wallander and his gang, none of the English or Scottish, and not even Holmes.
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
Jun 14, 2014 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2016 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
A masterwork of sparse, clean prose, building upwards to a sparse, calm conclusion almost unrivalled in tension.

The smooth and calm manner that the authors use to write about Martin Beck is the perfect vehicle to deliver not only a sordid, messy crime story in a neat package, but also to serve the brilliant double purpose of reflecting the prevailing attitude of blankness that pervades Martin Beck's life.

That he is depressed, miserable, and desperate is undoubted; that they so accurately convey
Oct 16, 2015 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have really enjoyed the first two books in this Swedish crime series. I am a big fan of Henning Mankell who has written that he was very much influenced by the Martin Beck police procedural series when writing his Kurt Wallander series. I find it very interesting to see this inspiration.

Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall's books are very straightforward yet absorbing mysteries. I particularly like the way that they use the social/political setting, in this case the Cold War, as an important factor in
Paul Patterson
Dec 11, 2009 Paul Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 30, 2010 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Mar 15, 2010 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Karla Butler
Nov 01, 2011 Karla Butler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 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

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