Roseanna

A Martin Beck Mystery
Narrated by: Tom Weiner
Series: Martin Beck, Book 1
Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
4 out of 5 stars (404 ratings)

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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

5 Times Now

I can't even remember how I found Roseanna now, but I vaguely remember it having something to do with Henning Mankell's Wallander books, something about Mankell's influences, which is particularly fitting considering the fact that Mankell provided the foreword for this first volume of the Martin Beck series.

Regardless how I got to Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Decalogue, the Martin Beck Series (which has become the conventional way to refer to their ten books despite the fact that it is a flimsy description of a series wherein each member of the National Murder Squad gets a turn at centre stage and it already has a collective, albeit little used name: The Story of a Crime) is one of the finest pieces of fiction I have ever read, and this first book, Roseanna, is compelling.

This was my fifth time listening to Roseanna (and Tom Weiner's vocal performance remains one of my favourite audiobook performances ever given), but it was my seventh time with the story altogether, and it is as good the seventh time as it was the first. Sure the mystery is no longer a mystery, but the procedure of the police, the way they slowly work their way to discovering Roseanna's murderer, and the way in which they catch their suspect is completely satisfying.

If you like Scandinavian lit at all, you should give Roseanna a listen; if you love Scandinavian lit and haven't read/listened to Rosenanna already, what have you been doing with yourself? And if you've listened to it before, listen to it again. You will be glad you did.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Deadpan Swedish police procedural from the 60s

This low-key, deadpan police procedural, written by a husband and wife team, exactly captures the pace and frustration endemic to actual police work. A country police station (aided by a Stockholm detective) has to investigate the murder of an unidentified woman on a cruise ship. It takes imagination as well as months of painstaking sifting for clues, first as to the identity and nature of the victim, and then to identify the killer. The writing is taut and workmanlike, and the somewhat dark narration fits the story well. Great read for fans of Nordic crime fiction.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best classic Swedish crime fiction

Where does Roseanna rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

top 5

What did you like best about this story?

character development & plot

What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?

He can do all the voices without pause--male-female-old man young man, etc. Very believable.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Unraveling the whodunit of the plot.

Any additional comments?

I highly recommend this series!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An instant classic - which holds up

What made the experience of listening to Roseanna the most enjoyable?

It's a compelling story, with some interesting twists, humor, and pathos of believable, sad, true characters, such as the protagonist, Martin Beck, a dispeptic, talented, but not all-knowing detective.

What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?

While some listeners seems to feel the narrator, Tom Weiner, is a pedestrian reader, I find him engaging, and able to provide a series of distinguishable characterizations.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could have, but wanted to savor it.

Any additional comments?

If you think of mystery stories as too focused on police procedure, quick and easy tricks, and not enough real drama built out of the characters, you will enjoy Sjowall and Wahloo, whose writing is literary in the best of the word.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful