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Publisher's Summary

The cunning incendiary device that blew the roof off a Stockholm apartment not only interrupted the small, peaceful orgy underway inside, it nearly took the lives of the building's 11 occupants. And if one of Martin Beck's colleagues hadn't been on the scene, the explosion would have led to a major catastrophe because, for reasons nobody could satisfactorily explain, a regulation fire truck has vanished. Was it terrorism, suicide, or simply a gas leak? And what if, anything, did the explosion have to do with the peculiar death earlier that day of a forty-six-year-old bachelor whose cryptic suicide note consisted of only two words: "Martin Beck"?
©1970 Random House, Inc. (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The first great series of police thrillers.... Sjöwall and Wahlöö caught the color of the political times and are above all truly exciting." (Michael Ondaatje)
"For me, the best criterion of a good read is to wish that it had gone on a bit longer. I felt that here...This is a 'police procedural' from the top drawer." (Colin Dexter, from the introduction)

What listeners say about The Fire Engine That Disappeared

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    70
  • 4 Stars
    57
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    56
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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

I

Have enjoyed all of the Martin Beck series, but this one may be my favorite. You can clearly see the connection to Ed McBains 87th precinct books

2 people found this helpful

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

police procedural

Where does The Fire Engine That Disappeared rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

you can swap the foreign names for places and people for something from Chicago, and you would think these writers are American Policemen turned fiction writers. it is claimed that all modern police procedural novels stem from this 10 volume set. I can almost believe that!!

Any additional comments?

wonderful listen!!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

not a fan of the reader

While I enjoy the books by Maj Sj?wall, Per Wahl?? the reader is not my favorite. Wish someone else narrated the books

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Crippled by translation choices

The storyline itself was well constructed, but the translation choices (not sure who made them) ruined things for me.

Specifically:
* Translation is made into formal British English (which would have been fine if the narrator spoke it).
* Idiomatic conventions are translated literally from the original text, resulting in a form of address ("one person addressing another" sense) which will feel foreign to most English speakers.
* Narrator speaks American English.

2 people found this helpful

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

Another good one in the series

This is the fifth Martin Beck I've listened to over the last 4 years or so and they've all been excellent. Critics make much of Sjowall and Wahloo's social criticism but 50 or so years on it seems pretty banal to these ears. The old folks home ain't great for the elderly and the prison system just makes criminals worse. OK. I'm here for the police procedural and the mystery and on that level these books work very well.

I like the narrator and have no problem with the fact that he doesn't attempt Swedish accents. Over dramatic narrators can really ruin a book. You've gotta take this as an English translation of a Swedish work and on that level the reading is good.

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

A reader's first impresion of Sjowall/Wahloo

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I'm about an hour into my first book by these authors and have put it down to post a warning to prospective customers about the humdrum job of reading "Fire Engine" by narrator Weiner. Admittedly spoiled by the likes of Timothy West, I find it hard to get into the story read by an expressionless performer. This is phone book reading at best.

Would you be willing to try another book from Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö ? Why or why not?

Perhaps.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator needs to feel some enjoyment in the job, get into it, have an emotion, care about the language.

Any additional comments?

In my two years (almost) of membership, Audible has increased the number of quality books in its library. Now it needs to set higher standards for its narrators as well as possibly rerecording some old favorites, using higher quality readers. Some of the current readers are so good that they spoil us. Humdrum reading seems unfair to subscribers but it must really depress first-rate authors whose writing takes a hit from a poor choice of narrator.

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

Just Could Not Get Into It

I think I need a break from police-murder-investigation-dramas; they just don’t hold my interest anymore. I suppose therefore it’s unfair for me to give it “just 2 stars” but alternatively, if it didn’t grab me and hold my interest how can I rate it any higher?

I thought I would give it a try because Swedish Authors are said to be the best in this genre… but since I did not “die” over the Millennium Trilogy (Stieg Larsson), I think I should have known better.

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

Not engaging for me

Any additional comments?

I was looking forward to a good police procedural story, but although a good story may be lurking inside, the narration/editing got in the way. I often listen while walking or doing other activities and I zoned out a number of times listening to this title due to the almost flat narration.

Mr. Weiner appears to be a talented narrator, but his performance in this title left me lacking. Much of the time one scene flowed into the next without a clear demarcation. A good example was at the end of the story when things were being resolved. The flow indicated that more story was following, but instead I got the "Audible hopes you enjoyed..." tag. Better pacing would have improved my experience.