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The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (The Martin Beck series, Book 2)
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The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (The Martin Beck series, Book 2) [Format Kindle]

Maj Sjöwall , Per Wahlöö

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The room was small and shabby. There were no curtains and the view outside consisted of a gray fire wall, a few rusty armatures and a faded advertisement for margarine. The centre pane of glass in the left half of the window was gone and had been replaced by a roughly cut piece of cardboard. The wallpaper was floral, but so discolored by soot and seeing moisture that the pattern was scarcely visible. Here and there it had come away from the crumbling plaster, and in several places there had been attempts to repair it with adhesive strips and wrapping paper.There were a heating stove, six pieces of furniture and a picture in the room. In front of the stove stood a cardboard box of sashes and a dented aluminum coffee pot. The end of the bed faced the stove and the bedclothes consisted of a thick layer of old newspapers, a ragged quilt and a striped pillow. The picture was of a naked blonde standing beside a marble balustrade, and it was hanging to the right of the stove so that the person laying in the bed could see it before he fell asleep and immediately when he work up. Someone appeared to have enlarged the woman's nipples and genitals with a pencil.In the other part of the room, nearest to the window, stood a round table and two wooden chairs, of which one had lost its back. On the table were three empty vermouth bottles, a soft-drink bottle and two coffee cups, among other things. The ash tray has been turned upside down and among the cigarette butts, bottle tops and dead matches lay a few dirty sugar lumps, a small penknife with its blades open, and a piece of sausage. A third coffee cup had fallen to the floor and had broken. Face down on the worn linoleum, between the table and the bed, lay a dead body.In all probability this was the same person who had improved upon the picture and tired to med the wallpaper with strips of adhesive and wrapping paper. It was a man and he was lying with his legs close together, his elbows pressed against his ribs and his hands drawn up toward his head, as if in an effort to protect himself. The man was wearing a woolen vest and frayed trousers. On his feet were ragged woolen socks. A large sideboard had been tipped over him, obscuring his head and half the top part of his body. The third woolen socks. A large sideboard had been tipped over him, obscuring his head and half the tope part of his body. The third wooden chair had been thrown down beside the corpse. Its seat was bloodstained and on the top of the back handprints were clearly visible. The floor was covered with pieces of glass. Some of them had come from the glass doors of the sideboard, others from had come from the glass doors of the sideboard, others form a half-shattered wine bottle which had been thrown onto a heap of dirty underclothes by the wall. What was felt of the bottle was covered with a think skin of dried blood. Someone had drawn a white circle around it.Of its kind, the picture was almost perfect, taken by the best wide-angle lens the police possessed and in an artificial light that gave an etched sharpness to every detail.Martin Beck put down the photograph and magnifying glass, got up and went across the window. Outside it was full Swedish summer. And more than that. It was hot. On the grass of Kristineberg Park a couple of girls were sunbathing in bikinis. They were lying flat on their backs with their legs apart and their arms stretched outward away from their bodies. They were young and thin, or slim as they say, and they could do this with a certain grace. When he focused sharply, he even recognized them as two office girls from his own department. So it was already past twelve. In the morning they put on their bathing suits, cotton dresses and sandals and went to work. In the lunch hour they tool off their dresses and went out and lay in the park. Practical.Dejectedly, he recalled that soon he would have to leave all this and move over to the south police headquarters in the rowdy neighborhood around Vastberga AlleBehind him he heard someone fling open the door and come into the room. He did not need to turn around to know who it was. Stenstrom. Stenstrom was still the youngest in the department and after him there would presumably be a whole generation of detectives who did not knock on doors."How's it going?" he said."Not so well," said Stenstrom When I was there fifteen minutes ago he was still flatly denying everything."Martin Beck turned around, went back to his desk and once again looked at the photo of the scene of the crime. On the ceiling above the newspaper mattress, the ragged quilt and the striped pillow, there was an old patch of dampness. It looked like a sea horse. He wondered if the man on the floor had had that much imagination."It doesn't matter," said Stenstrom officiously. "We'll get him on the technical evidence."Martin Beck made no reply. Instead he pointed ad the thick report Stenstrom had put down on his desk and said, "What's that?"Martin Beck took the photograph and went up one flight of stairs, opened a door and found himself with Kollberg and Melander.It was much warned in there than in his room, presumably because the windows were closed and the curtains drawn. Kollberg and the suspect were sitting opposite each other at the table, quite still. Melander, a tall man, was standing by the window, his pipe in his mouth and his arms folded. He was looking steadily at the suspect. On a chair by the door sat a police guard in uniform trousers and a light-blue shirt. He was balancing his cap on his right knee. No one said anything and the only moving thing was the reel of the tape recorder. Martin Beck situated himself to one side and just behind Kollberg and jointed in the general silence. A wasp could be heard bouncing against the window behind curtains. Kollberg had taken off his jacket and unbuttoned his shirt, but even so, his shirt was soaked with sweat between his plump shoulder blades. The wet patch slowly changed shape and spread downward in a line along his spine.The man on the other side of the table was small, with thinning hair. He was slovenly dressed and the fingers gripping the arms of his chair were uncared-for, with bitten, dirty nails. His face was thin and sickly, with weak evasive lines around his mouth. His chin was trembling slightly and his eyes seemed cloudy and watery. The man hunched up and two tears fell down his cheeks."Uh-huh," said Kollberg gloomily. "You hit him on the head with the bottle, them, until it broke?"The man nodded."Then you went on hitting him with the chair as he lay on the floor. How many times?""Don't know. Not many. Quite a lot through.""I can imagine. And then you tipped the sideboard over him and left the room. What did the third one of you do in the meantime? This Ragnar Larsson? Didn't he try to interfere; I mean, stop you?'"No, he didn't to anything. He just let it go on.""Don't start lying again now.""He was asleep. He'd passed out.""Try to speak a little louder, all right?""He was lying on the bed, asleep. He didn't notice anything.""No, not until he came to and then he went to the police.Well, so far it's clear. But there's one thing I still don't really understood. Why did it turn out this way? You'd never even seen each other before you met in that beer hall.""He called me a damned nazi.""Every policeman gets called a damaged nazi several times a week. Hundreds of people have called me a nazi and Gestapo man and even worse things, but I've never killed anyone for it.""He sat there and said it over and over again, damned nazi, damned nazi, damned nazi. . . It was the only thing he said And he sang.'"Sang?""Yes, to get my goat. Annoy me. About Hitler.""Uh-huh. Well, had given him any cause to talk like that?""I'd told him my old lady was German. That was before.""Before you began drinking?""Yes. Then he just said it didn't matter what kind of mother a guy had.""And when he was about to go out into the kitchen, you took the bottle and hit him from behind?""Yes""Did he fall?""He sort of fell to his knees. And began bleeding. And then he said, 'You bloody little nazi runt, you, now you're in for it.' ""And so you went on hitting him?""I was . . . afraid. He was bigger than me and. . . you don't know what it feels like. . . everything just goes round and round and goes red . . . I didn't seem to know what I was doing."The man's shoulders were shaking violently."That's enough," said Kollberg, switching off the tape recorder. "Give him something to eat and ask the doctor if the can have a sedative."The policeman by the door rose, put his cap on and led the murdered out, holding him loosely by the arm."Bye for now. See you tomorrow," said Kollbergy absently.At the same time he was writing mechanically on the paper in front of him, "Confessed in tears.""Quite a character," he said."Five previous convictions for assault," said Melander. "In spite of his denying it every time. I remember him very well.""Said the walking card file," Kollberg commented.He rose heavily and started at martin Beck."What are you doing here?' he said. "Go take your holiday and let us look after the criminal ways of the lower classes. Where are you going, but the way? To the islands?"Martin Beck nodded."Smart," said Kollberg. "I went to Rumania first and got firend-in Mamaia. Then I come home and get boiled. Great.And you don't have any telephone out there?""No.""Excellent. I'm going to take a shower now anyhow. Come on. Run along now."Martin Beck thought it over. The suggestion had its advantages. Among other things, he would get away a day earlier. He shrugged his shoulders."I'm leaving. Bye, boys. See you in a month."Most people's holidays were already over and Stockholm's August-hot streets had begun to fill with people who ha spent a...

Revue de presse

“Sjöwall and Wahlöö write unsparingly and unswervingly. . . . Fast moving storytelling. . . . Their plots are second to none.” —Val McDermid, from the introduction "Enormously satisfying. . . . Terse, tense and eminently readable." —Chicago Tribune“Ingenious. . . . Their mysteries don't just read well; they reread even better. . . . The writing is lean, with mournful undertones.”—The New York Times“The husband-wife combination forms a superb story-telling team.”—El Paso Times

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 653 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 210 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0307390489
  • Editeur : Harper Perennial (3 avril 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002RI919E
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°43.262 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  47 commentaires
29 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 As I was going up the stair 4 janvier 2007
Par Leonard Fleisig - Publié sur
I met a man who wasn't there.

Summer vacation season is in full swing and Inspector Martin Beck has just arrived in an isolated summer cottage on an island off the Swedish coast. The very next morning a neighbor rows out to advise him that he is wanted on the telephone. He is needed back in Stockholm for a meeting with the Police Chief and the Swedish Foreign office. Beck grudgingly returns for the meeting and is asked to travel to Budapest, Hungary to find a missing journalist. The journalist, Alf Matsson, has gone missing and the tabloid newspaper he works for has pressured the Foreign Office to search for the report. Beck has been asked to `volunteer' for the task. Despite, or perhaps because of, his wife's displeasure (their marriage is not in the best condition) at his departure, Beck accepts the assignment. In short order he is provided with a full set of travel documents, a brief dossier on Matsson, and a ticket for Budapest. The only thing Beck lacks is the first clue as to how to locate Matsson.

As the story progresses we see Beck put together bits and pieces of information as he wanders, seemingly aimlessly, through the picturesque streets of Budapest. Beck is traveling purely as a civilian and soon attracts the attention of the Budapest police force, in particular a detective who may or may not be an ally of Beck. Beck also attracts the attention of what may be either Budapest's underworld or representatives of the Hungarian security forces. For all intents and purposes Beck is a stranger in a strange land.

As with all the other Martin Beck mysteries in this ten-book series (this is the third in the series), "The Man Who Went Up in Smoke" is rich with character-driven narrative. Beck's character and his relationships with his colleagues and his wife are fleshed out as Beck plods along trying to unravel the mystery surrounding Matsson's disappearance. The authors, the husband and wife team of Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall, do a nice job of revealing details in a measured pace along the way. The plot and narrative do fall squarely within the usual police procedural `formula' but that does nothing to take away from the enjoyment of reading the book. Although the reader may find the ending a bit predictable (I didn't) the real enjoyment of the series involves the development of Beck's character. As with many good detective series (Simenon's Maigret comes to mind here) the personality of Beck takes pride of place. He is far from being a super hero, is no Sherlock Holmes (who is?), smokes too much, doesn't eat right, and has some troubles at home. He is appealing because of these flaws not despite them and his dogged determination and his personal involvement in the cases he handles drags the reader right into the story. He works at his job and doesn't and cannot rely on flashes of genius to solve a crime.

The Beck series has been an entertaining one. I recommend starting with the first book in the series (Roseanna) and working your way in chronological order. My only fault with the publisher, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (a division of Random House) is that they do not identify the order of books in the series. Despite that minor quibble any reader who enjoys Simenon, Eric Ambler, or Boris Akunin will enjoy the Martin Beck detective mysteries. Recommended. L. Fleisig.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "A hopeless meaningless assignment" 18 novembre 2010
Par Patto - Publié sur
This, the second Martin Beck mystery, is somewhat atypical. The inspector is not operating in Sweden but in Budapest, where a Swedish journalist named Alf Matsson has disappeared. Beck's "hopeless meaningless assignment" is to find Matsson - with no official status and no staff support.

It's the Iron Curtain era, besides, and the case may be politically sensitive. So Beck is forbidden to speak with the local police.

Clueless and directionless, Beck wanders around admiring the Danube and feasting on Hungarian food at a tourist's pace, even though he's been told to find his man in a week. But he does unearth a few suggestive details. Eventually his very presence starts stirring things up.

As Val McDermid points out in her insightful introduction, the plotting of the Martin Beck mysteries is superb. With this book, you think you're getting one kind of story, and it turns into something quite different.

Before Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö became crime writers, they were journalists, and here they paint a fascinating picture of a rowdy set of hard-working, hard-drinking reporters and feature writers. The missing journalist emerges as a particularly nasty character. Beck finds himself feeling strangely indifferent to Matsson's fate as he moves closer to finding him.

The Man Who Went Up in Smoke was first published in 1966. Martin Beck is already middle-aged and seems to like his job better than his family. The obsessive depressive Swedish detective we meet again and again in today's Scandinavian crime fiction can be traced back to Martin Beck.

I loved the casual realism of this book, the spare prose, the quirky humor and the unpredictable meanderings of the plot. There's a subtlety of approach that reminds me of Simenon. I plan to read the whole series in order.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 What a timeless gem of a story 17 octobre 2011
Par Dr. Christine Maingard - Publié sur
It is hard to believe that The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) was written in the mid-60's and published in English in 1969. Swjowall & Wahloo were a husband & wife writing team (perhaps this is were Nicci French got their aspiration from) who have written a series of police thrillers and this one is the second in the "Martin Beck" series.

I loved this timeless gem that so masterfully portrays Swedish Detective Inspector Beck in his pursuit of uncovering the disappearance of a journalist in Budapest. Were it not for the obvious absence of any reference to technology & mobile phones one would think that the story was only written yesterday. Swjowall & Wahloo are masters in examining human nature and their plot, both in terms of subject and structure, is flawless.

If you like timeless police thrillers, this is well worth a read.

Christine Maingard, Author of 'Think Less Be More:Mental Detox for Everyone'
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Rediscovering the Martin Beck mysteries 8 septembre 2010
Par Rick Skwiot - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
It had been decades since I'd read a Martin Beck roman policier from the Swedish team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö - so long that I can't remember which ones I might have read. But on a friend's recommendation I went back to Beck in a 1969 mystery "The Man Who Went Up In Smoke." While reputedly not their best effort, it was good enough for me to want to read more.

In it Detective Beck interrupts his summer vacation to travel from Stockholm to Budapest to investigate the seeming disappearance there of a Swedish journalist. While the plot is not that intriguing, the policemen are -- Swedes and Hungarians alike. They share a stocism, a sardonic Weltanschauung, and unresolved marital problems. As a result, they come off as human beings at work instead of formulaic heroic crime-fighters.

As when Beck's colleague Kollberg is receiving an oral report on the apprehension of two suspects from an unimaginative provinical Swedish cop, Backlund, who states that they "`were taken to police Patrolmen Kristiansson and Kvant. Both men were under the influence of alcohol.'"

"`Kristiansson and Kvant?'"

"Backlund gave Kolberg a look of reproach and went on..."

Subtle humor, Swedish humor perhaps, which peppers the gritty novel at unexpected moments.

But most alluring is the Cold War-era view of Europe, the deliberate pacing, and the crisp prose as translated by Joan Tate. The result is soothing, reminding me of Simenon's Maigret novels. Like Maigret, Beck drinks a lot. Also like Maigret, he has a long-suffering wife -- though Beck's does not suffer silently as does Madame Maigret.

From 1965 to 1975 Sjöwall and Wahlöö published 10 Martin Beck mysteries, the most noted being "The Laughing Policeman," made into a 1973 movie, set in San Francisco in lieu of the novel's Stockholm, with Walter Matthau and Bruce Dern.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 The story that went up in smoke 1 février 2013
Par William A. Gnoss - Publié sur
Holy cow. This is the second of the series of books with Martin Beck. This time he spends 2/3 of his time spinning wheels in Budapest with exactly one exciting moment and the rest quite dull and accomplishing nothing. Then he goes back home and figures out what happened in the most anti-climatic ending possible. I thought this
was a waste of time, I'm back to Wallander.
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