Monday, January 24, 2011

The Abominable Man, by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö

(hb; 1971, 1972: seventh book in the Martin Beck Police Mysteries. Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal.)

From the inside flap:

"The bloody murder of a police captain in his hospital room exposes the particularly unsavory history of a man who spent forty years practicing brutality and force. As this story unfolds, Martin Beck and his colleagues scour Stockholm for the murderer, a demented and deadly rifleman, who finally stages a terrifying scene of chaos and revenge against the police. As the tension builds and a feeling of impending danger and doom settles on Martin Beck, an even stronger sense of responsibility and something like shame urge him into taking drastic steps on his own which lead to shocking disaster."


Sjöwall and Wahlöö vary the pace of the series with The Abominable Man, a novel that favors action over time-consuming police investigations. Thankfully, the husband-and-wife writing team don't sacrifice any of the pathos, humor or other interactions of Beck and his men to do so.

This is a riveting, charming read. Worth owning, too - as are the preceding Martin Beck novels.

Followed by The Locked Room.

The resulting film, titled Man on the Roof, was released in Sweden on October 1, 1976. It was released stateside in April 1977.

Carl-Gustaf Lindstedt, billed as Carl Gustaf Lindstedt, played Martin Beck. Sven Wollter played Lenart Kollberg. Thomas Hellberg played Gunvald Larsson. Håkan Serner played Einar Rönn.

Torgny Anderberg (who also appeared in Roseanna, as a different character) played Malm. Folke Hjort played Melander.

Birgitta Valberg played Mrs. Nyman. Harald Hamrell played Stefan Nyman. Carl-Axel Heiknert, billed as Carl Axel Heiknert, played Palmon Harald Hult. Ingvar Hirdwall, billed as Ingvar Hirdvall, played Åke Eriksson. Bellan Roos played Mrs. Eriksson. Gus Dahlström played Mr. Eriksson.

Bo Widerberg scripted and directed the film.

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