Monday, February 15, 2010

The Man Who Went Up In Smoke, by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö

(hb; 1966: second book in the Martin Beck Police Mysteries. Translated from the Swedish by Joan Tate.)

From the inside flap:

"This new adventure of the dedicated Swedish policeman Martin Beck begins as a long, leisurely summer holiday is cut off by the top brass at the Foreign Office who decide to pack him off to Budapest. The mission turns out to be one of the most exasperating assignments in Beck's entire career: the search for Alf Matsson, a well-known journalist who has vanished without a trace.

"On this trail of this hard-drinking Swedish newsman, Martin Beck investigates some curious East European underworld characters and -- at the risk of his life -- stumbles upon a flourishing international racket in which Matsson was involved. Yet even after an exhaustive search along the banks of the Danube, Martin Beck still cannot produce the missing man. Gradually some remarkably efficient policemen in Budapest -- and his own hard-working colleagues at home in Stockholm -- help Martin Beck convert this wild-goose chase into a coolly systematic manhunt. .."


Lean, addictive, and word-spare as its predecessor novel, Roseanna, Smoke is a character-expansive, lighter-in-tone follow-up to that source novel.

Check it out.

Followed by The Man On The Balcony.

A film version of The Man Who Went Up In Smoke was released in Sweden on December 25, 1980.

Derek Jacobi played Martin Beck. Thomas Oredsson played Alf Mattson. Judy Winter played Aina Mattson. Ferenc Bács played Inspector Szluke. Lasse Strömstedt played Kollberg. Krisztina Peremartoni played Ari. Sándor Szabó played Mr. Sós.

Péter Bacsó directed the film, from a screenplay written by Wolfgang Mühlbauer.

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