Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Review of The Fire Engine That Disappeared by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (1969, Harper)
The Fire Engine That Disappeared is the fifth book in the Martin Beck series. Like the preceding novels, Sjowall and Wahloo tell the tale using a measured, understated voice. The focus is very much on the everyday group dynamic of a murder squad, the various personalities, petty jealousies and rivalries, and how the police go about identifying and solving the crime. And again, the timeline is stretched over many months involving lots of laborious and routine work. However, the usual realism seems a little less believable in this tale than the others with a seemingly perfect crime being picked apart with a certain amount of luck and coincidence, the tale itself felt a little flat, and the social and political commentary about Swedish society is much less pronounced. Nonetheless, it’s a solid addition to what has so far been a strong series.