Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Man Who Went Up in Smoke by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo

The Man Who Went up in Smoke, published in 1966, is the second book featuring Martin Beck, Swedish Police detective. This book is translated from Swedish by Joan Tate and published in English in 1969.

Martin Beck is called back from a holiday to look for a missing Swedish journalist in Budapest. Budapest in 1960s is under the Soviet rule and it is interesting how this hardly reflects on the case. Martin Beck has to look for the journalist without any help from local authorities. How to look for somebody in a foreign country without the help of the local authorities? He is not entirely sure what to do. One moment he hurries up to do something, next he slows down. What to do? Back home, his colleague provides him with one lead. Beck goes to check the lead. He is still not sure that anything is going to come out of this. What happened to the journalist? Did he disappear and go up in smoke?

Budapest is described beatifully, that I want to visit. But this is Budapest of 1960s , how does it look half a century later. As the story progressed, I understood what really happened, but didn't figure out the why. This is a short novel can be read in one or two sittings. This is my first Martin Beck read and I look forward to read more books in this series.

I like the title, it is very clever.

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