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Sjowall, Maj and Wahloo, Per - 'The Locked Room'
Paperback: 288 pages (Aug. 2007) Publisher: HarperPerennial ISBN: 0007242980

Martin Beck has just returned to his job as a Stockholm Police chief inspector after recovering from a near fatal shooting, His first assigned case is that of a shot man, found in a locked apartment with no trace of a gun in the room. The man had been dead for a long time - the heating was on and the room windows completely sealed. Thus, the body was badly decomposed and smelling, which attracted the attention of the neighbours.

Beck, whilst investigating this offence has his attention drawn to another crime where his colleagues are investigating a bank robbery in which a bank teller is murdered during the act. There are suspicions that this felony and several other similar robberies were organised by a "Mr Big" who works for an airline and always arranges to be out of the country as an alibi for the crime.

Beck meets Rhea Nielsen, a lady he finds very attractive and she helps him to resolve his thoughts on the locked room problem.

The plot is very interesting with lots of diversions. Beck is worried about rumours that he will be promoted to Commissioner (a desk bound job). There is discussion of some Swedish social problems concerning the care of the elderly of the 1960s, that is still a problem in the 21st Century!

THE LOCKED ROOM is an excellent book which I found more stimulating than THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN which is the only other title I have read by these authors. Once I started this book, from the first page I was hooked - a real page turner - to its very satisfactory conclusion. I hope to read the other eight books in the Martin Beck series someday soon.

Read another review of THE LOCKED ROOM.

Terry Halligan, England
April 2010

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 18/04/2010 13:15