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
I am exploring Scandinavian mysteries but also like mysteries set in other parts of the world. I also like reading Literary Fiction.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No matter where you go, there you are.
Much of the flow and continuity of this story was lost in the translation from Swedish to English. Perhaps the translator was unaware of the proper English idioms or phrasing that kept the context of the dialogue moving smoothly. It came out as jerky and awkward at times and this became a serious distraction as I listened.
I found myself fairly consistently making adjustments, excuses really, that amplified or filled in the empty moments created in this novels momentum by clumsy word usage. I do not speak Swedish, but cannot imagine it being such a stultified and unexpressive language. Much of the quality of prose is in the artistry of the flow of ideas and descriptives. This book, at times, came across as an outline or rough draft.
The fact that it was written 50 years ago is no excuse for its poor communicative style.
The story was interesting but lost in the translation.
Very different than modern day procedurals. Almost as if written like polices notes. Not much emotion but very descriptive. I discovered Roseanna by watching the interviews at the end of Beck on MHz Worldview so I just had to read of course. I will continue to read series in order.
character development & plot
He can do all the voices without pause--male-female-old man young man, etc. Very believable.
Unraveling the whodunit of the plot.
I highly recommend this series!
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