Sunday, April 29, 2012
THE FIRE ENGINE THAT DISAPPEARED - Sjowall & Wahloo
This is the second book I've read by this husband and wife team (Wahloo died in 1975).
They write a police procedural that proceeds in almost real time and this story covered several months. Events unfold slowly and pedantically, I believe this is meant to emulate a true police investigation but for the reader , or this reader at least, it dragged .
This story starts when a block of flats under surveillance explodes before the surveillance team's eyes. There are three people killed, so was it an accident, suicide or murder.
A murder investigation team from Stockholm investigate, and although these are called 'Martin Beck' novels this police inspector has the lowest profile in the entire book , this was the case in the previous one I read also.
Quite a few of the police involved are utter dolts and there is no leadership in the investigation and really the whole thing is strange. Also its a translation and the language is very stilted, I always find that although translators are clever thay have trouble putting slang across to the reader.
The story meanders all the time, this may have something to do with the fact the the couple took turn about writing the chapters, which is the very comradely thing for them to do as they were both Marxist journalist's. i.e ..........went home to his flat and made himself bacon and bake beans for supper. On Saturday and Sunday he read a book and on Monday went back to the office........I found this rambling infuriating.
One positive regarding the series I've read is that its a very good snapshot as to how things were socially in Sweden in the late 1960's.
I have read that "Cop Hater" is the best of the series and I will read this when I find it but I'm not going to bother with the others.