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

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  4,954 Ratings  ·  303 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
Aug 31, 2013 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 17, 2012 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.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A real page turner of a book. A Swedish journalist has gone missing in Budapest and it is Martin Beck's job to find him. The politicians want the case settled quickly to avoid a scandal in cold war Europe (Wallenburg Mark 2 perhaps?) - but can Beck solve the case in time?

The case is absolutely baffling with the journalist leaving only the lightest of traces in Budapest - a couple of hotel check ins and taxi rides. Surely even Beck will find this insufficient. A couple of plot twists keep you gue
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
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In urma dispariției unui cunoscut jurnalist suedez, detectivul Martin Beck este nevoit să-și întrerupă concediul și să încerce elucidarea misterului în Budapesta. Ajuns acolo, Beck se confruntă inițial cu atitudinea circumspectă a poliției maghiare, apoi cu o lipsă dubioasă a indiciilor care l-ar putea ajuta să soluționeze cazul. Deși în partea a doua a poveștii apar treptat mai multe elemente care sugerează adevăratele implicații ale dispariției, deznodământul cazului a fost o adevărată surpriz ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 06, 2016 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
Aug 28, 2012 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
Rachel Hall
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second 'chapter' in the Inspector Martin Beck chronicles sees Martin Beck our man away from home, out of ideas and lacking resources when he is recalled from his month long summer holiday with his family. Exactly twenty-fours hours into his sojourn, Martin Beck once again finds himself sitting in the office of Chief Inspector Hammar and agreeing to undertake a relatively hush hush investigation on behalf of the foreign office into the disappearance of a well-known journalist, a Swede named A ...more
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jigar Brahmbhatt
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very methodical, finely plotted book. I am amazed by the way the writers managed to achieve a calm texture while keeping the narrative conflict alive.

Almost nothing happens in the first half. Clues are sparse and lead only to deadlocks. But we somehow keep reading. Give it to the meticulous attention paid to every scene. We see and understand how painful an investigation can be and we cheer when a small detail, the kind that is not even considered in a more kinetic thriller, leads us somewhere.
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.

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
Thomas Strömquist
The second "Beck/Novel about a crime"-book sends Martin Beck searching for a missing reporter in the 60's Eastern Europe. Quite slow evolving and low-key narrative, this never comes to mind when I'm asked to name the top books of the series, but every time I read it, I'm stunned about how much I like it.
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
Mal Warwick
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Martin Beck gives up his annual holidays to go to Budapest to search for a missing journalist. Obviously his wife was not happy but Beck's real marriage is to his job. That is as far as the book goes into Beck's personal life.
With few clues Beck is still able to solve the crime.
Written in the third person, the authors provide great details in describing the scenes and characters - this attention to detail is also what Beck does so well. Plus the book describes the simplicity of life before the i
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
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
James Thane
Apr 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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.
May 22, 2013 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
Kris McCracken
Jun 29, 2016 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
Silvia Sba
Me ha gustado menos que el primero, Roseanna. Pero seguiré con esta serie.
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
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect Sequence: Martin Beck #2 8 141 Jun 09, 2016 03:11PM  
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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 (10 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)