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Roseanna: A Martin Beck Mystery | [Maj Sjöwall, Per Wahlöö]

Roseanna: A Martin Beck Mystery

On a July afternoon, the body of a young woman is dredged from Sweden's Lake Vättern. Three months later, all that Police Inspector Martin Beck knows is that her name is Roseanna, that she came from Lincoln, Nebraska, and that she could have been strangled by any one of 85 people. As Beck narrows down the list of likely suspects, he is drawn increasingly to the enigma of the victim, a free-spirited traveler with a penchant for the casual sexual encounter.
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Publisher's Summary

On a July afternoon, the body of a young woman is dredged from Sweden's beautiful Lake Vättern. Three months later, all that Police Inspector Martin Beck knows is that her name is Roseanna, that she came from Lincoln, Nebraska, and that she could have been strangled by any one of 85 people.

As the melancholic Beck narrows down the list of likely suspects, he is drawn increasingly to the enigma of the victim, a free-spirited traveler with a penchant for the casual sexual encounter, and to the psychopathology of a murderer with a distinctive - indeed, terrifying - sense of propriety.

With its authentically rendered settings, vividly realized characters, and command over the intricately interwoven details of police detection, Roseanna is a masterpiece of suspense and sadness.

©1967 Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (225 )
5 star
 (68)
4 star
 (84)
3 star
 (56)
2 star
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1 star
 (7)
Overall
4.1 (117 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (23)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (120 )
5 star
 (41)
4 star
 (50)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
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1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    chris United States 02-16-12
    chris United States 02-16-12 Member Since 2011

    I am exploring Scandinavian mysteries but also like mysteries set in other parts of the world. I also like reading Literary Fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    8
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    "Surprisingly Good"

    [This review contains no spoilers about the plot or details of the mystery]

    I say "Surprisingly Good" because I should not have liked this as much as I did.

    I should not have liked it because I think Tom Weiner's narration is too fast and clipped. Sometimes, his voices are grating. At first I did not think I could get over it, but I did and kept on listening. I'm glad I did.

    I should not have liked it because the detective is a pig to his wife. I don't need my detectives to be nice people, but his childishness was annoying and painful to hear about. In this troubled marriage, I felt sorry for his wife and had little compassion for him. But still I stuck it out.

    Ultimately, what made this novel surprisingly good was a surprisingly good mystery. One of the key clues was clearly the inspiration for one of the key clues in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I guess Larrson read this book and one part of it stayed in his brain.

    The novel is a police procedural set in the 1960's (the book was written in the 1960's). It is clever and well plotted. At the end it is really exciting and fun.

    There is one stretch that was tough to get through: a series of interview transcripts with Q and A. The performance of that made me want to scream. Thankfully it was not more than 30 minutes.

    This and other books in the series are priced very reasonably. For fans of Scandinavian murder mysteries (Hakan Nesser, Henning Mankell, and others), this series is an important inspiration. If you're hardcore about mysteries set in this part of the world, you have to read this series which is pretty much the beginning of the tradition.

    The novel begins with a prologue by Henning Mankell, which explains why the series was so groundbreaking and important and well done. I left it for last. The cover image used for this book was annoying and sloppy. Every time I turned on the audiobook I had to look at a fat bare foot in the grass? Give me a break. A minor detail, but a grating one.

    I was genuinely surprised at how much I liked this novel because I was not crazy about the narration. It felt too fast. I will continue with this series however because it was sharp and clever and I think I could get used to these characters.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patty B 12-30-09
    Patty B 12-30-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    10
    1
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    "Skip the audiobook and read the book..."

    Tom Weiner's narration and voice characterizations were distracting and irritating. The original ten Martin Beck books were well-written, and the plots and character developments were exceptional. I can recommend the books, but not this audiobook. The narrator's performance ruined the experience for me. I still plan to buy the other audiobooks in the series, but I wish someone else had been chosen to narrate the stories because Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall wrote a great series of novels when they penned the Martin Beck mysteries. "Roseanne," along with the other books in the series, deserves 5 Stars, but Tom Weiner's narration only rates 1 Star. My overall rating for this audiobook is 3 Stars, and that's only out of respect for Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Brookline, MA, United States 02-06-12
    Lauren Brookline, MA, United States 02-06-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    4
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    "Taught police procedural stands the test of time"

    Although this was written in the 1960s, the crime itself is timeless and the sparse writing and realistic details of detective work are still engaging. I enjoyed the reminder of the challenges of gathering information in the pre-internet/fax/mobile phone era. The narrator is good and reads at a quick enough pace to not drag even in the interludes during which the detectives are stumped or just tailing someone.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Wichita, KS USA 09-29-10
    Amazon Customer Wichita, KS USA 09-29-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    147
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    13
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    "Excellent"

    Even though this novel was written more than 40 years ago, it's lost little of its freshness or relevance. It has pay phones instead of cell phones, and none of the modern forensics we're used to reading about, but the story is very well written. Characters are not the best looking, most brilliant, most clever, etc. that are standard fare for this genre; they're human beings with strengths and flaws, just like the real thing, and that's what makes it so readable and so enjoyable. If you're weary of formulaic, predictable detective novels, you'll enjoy this one. I hope the rest in the series are this good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-29-09
    07-29-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Long Awaited"

    I found this book chilling when I first read it in the early 70's and having it read was wonderful - still creepy. I hope the other titles by Sjowall and Wahloo are brought along as well. The forward by Henning Mankell was frosting on the cake.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-15-12
    ratings
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    5
    2
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    Story
    "Great story, bad narrator"
    If you could sum up Roseanna in three words, what would they be?

    Hard to do. I really like this series, I've read it several times over the years.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Martin Beck-but I know the story arc since I've read the whole series. He doesn't seem all that interesting in this book.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Tom Weiner’s performances?

    Not really. Not only is his voice somewhat grating, but he mispronounces many of the character names. I lived in Denmark as a child and speak some Danish, Swedish is very similar and this has me constantly correcting his pronunciation in my head as I listen.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carvaleen Gardnerville, NV, United States 01-31-12
    Carvaleen Gardnerville, NV, United States 01-31-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BORING, BORING NARRATOR."

    Ahhhh, how a narrator can make or break a good book! I am totally hooked on Swedish Authors. I've listened to all of Steig Larson, Henning Mankell, and Joe Nesbo. I was so excited when I listened to Henning Mankell's forward on this book. But alas, the narrator offered NOTHING. Sometimes, I am annoyed when the narrator over dramatizes a book and have thought to myself, "please, just read it." But this reader was so boring that I considered stopping. Narrators are so important. They really can either add to or detract from a well written book. This book is worth listening to, but you have to get passed the narrator. If you like someone to simply read the book. Then Tom Weiner is your man.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Mountain View, CA, United States 09-04-10
    John Mountain View, CA, United States 09-04-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
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    "Narrator will put you to sleep"

    I found it hard to avoid my mind wandering off when listing to this book due to the monotone style of the narrator. This is after listening to great narrators on Millenium Trillogy, The Glass Rainbow and not as great but quite decent narrator of The Dogs of Riga.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roseanna Lubbock, TX, United States 12-17-09
    Roseanna Lubbock, TX, United States 12-17-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Loved the Title"

    I chose this book because of the title! The story captured my interest early and held my interest to the end. Although it was published decades ago, the case details hold up. I have added other works by these authors to my Wish List.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MEMcL Carlsbad, CA 08-05-09
    MEMcL Carlsbad, CA 08-05-09 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    199
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    50
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    2
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    Overall
    "Maybe a 3 and a half"

    This was a good, straight-forward detective story that demonstrates the methodical police work necessary to solve a crime. It held my interest and I did enjoy it, but don't know why it was listed as a "classic" in the beginning narration. Maybe, because in the 60's, it was similar to the Dragnet series. But, it did lead me along with the author in solving the mystery. Maybe, a 3.9.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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