Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Cop Killer, by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö

(hb; 1974, 1975: ninth book in the Martin Beck Police Mysteries. Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal.)


Warning: possible series spoilers in this review.

The year: 1973.

Martin Beck, now a happy boyfriend to Rhea Nielsen (first seen in The Locked Room), has been assigned to investigate the disappearance of a thirty-something divorcée, Sigbrid Mård, in a border town (Domme).

Beck's boss (the ineffectual Malm) gives Beck this case because its main suspect is familiar to many cops in Beck's Stockholm unit - Folke Bengtsson.

It's been nine years since Beck and his men arrested Bengtsson for the murder of Roseanna McGraw, and it looks like Bengtsson, who spent seven and a half years in prison, may have kidnapped - probably killed - Sigbrit Mård.

With the help of Herrgott Allwright, an easy-going local cop, Åke Gunnarson (now working under the name Åke Boman, and last seen in The Fire Engine That Disappeared), and his home-based Stockholm unit, Beck begins the tedious process of sussing out who made the divorcée disappear.

Authors Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö inject, as they often do, a second storyline into this work: a cop has been shot, and another inadvertantly killed, by two suspects, one of whom escaped.

Malm (Beck's PR-obsessed, pompous boss) heads up a task force to find these killers, a task force that includes Lennart Kollberg (Beck's best friend and fellow cop), who's having a crisis of conscience about his job.

All the dynamics that make this police procedural series rock - timely politics, involving/evolving characters and situations, lean yet warm writing, and underlying philosophical/morality issues -- are present in this work, imbuing this Martin Beck entry not only with charm and smarts, but series-changing events.

Worth owning, this, as is the whole series.

Followed by The Terrorists.

The resulting direct-to-video film, The Police Murderer, was released in Sweden on January 12, 1994.

Gösta Ekman reprised his role of Martin Beck. Kjell Bergqvist reprised his role of Lennart Kollberg. Rolf Lassgård reprised his role of Gunvald Larsson. Jonas Falk reprised his role of Stig Malm.

Tomas Norström played Herrgott Nöjd (the film equivalent of Herrgott Allwright?). Johan Widerberg played Kaspar. Anica Dobra played Kia. Heinz Hoenig played Captain Mård. Agneta Ekmanner played Greta Hjelm. Stig Engström played Kaj Sundström. Anne-Li Norberg played Sigbrit Mård. Pia Green played Cecilia Sundström.

An uncredited Maj Sjöwall, who also co-wrote the novel and the screenplay, made a cameo in the film, though the IMDB link doesn't name her role.

Peter Keglevic directed the film, from a screenplay by the aforementioned Maj Sjöwall, Rainer Berg and Beate Langmaack.


Mama Zen said...

This sounds like something I might like. I'll give it a look.

KB said...

Sounds interesting.

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