Book Review: Roseanna by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (1965)

Roseanna is the first book in the Martin Beck series, written by Swedish authors Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. The book is a police procedural novel, and it follows the investigation of a young woman’s murder in Sweden.

The story begins with the discovery of the body of Roseanna McGraw, a young American tourist, in the Göta Canal. Martin Beck, a detective with the National Homicide Bureau in Stockholm, is assigned to the case. As he delves into the investigation, Beck realizes that the case will be more difficult to solve than he initially thought.

Beck and his team begin to gather evidence and question witnesses, including the crew and passengers of a nearby boat. However, they encounter many dead ends and frustrating setbacks in their pursuit of the killer. As the investigation progresses, Beck becomes increasingly obsessed with solving the case, even at the cost of his personal life and health.

As the case drags on, Beck’s team begins to suspect a Swedish man who was seen with Roseanna before her murder. The man, named Andersson, has a criminal record and a history of violence against women. However, the evidence against him is circumstantial, and the investigation stalls once again.

Ultimately, Beck and his team are able to piece together the evidence and uncover the true killer. The revelation of the killer’s identity is a shock to everyone involved in the case, and it comes with a heavy toll for Beck and his team.

Roseanna is a gripping police procedural novel that explores the psychological toll of investigating a brutal murder case. The book is known for its realism, as well as its portrayal of the Swedish welfare state and its flaws.

Roseanna is a gripping and realistic police procedural novel that provides a thought-provoking look into the complexities of solving a murder case. The authors, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, are known for their ability to craft a compelling and intricate story while also exploring larger societal issues.

One of the strengths of Roseanna is the depth and complexity of its characters. Martin Beck, the main character, is a flawed and relatable protagonist who struggles with the demands of his job and the toll it takes on his personal life. The other characters, including the suspects and witnesses, are equally well-developed and add depth to the story.

The authors also do an excellent job of exploring the larger societal issues that surround the murder investigation. They examine the flaws of the Swedish welfare state, the struggle for women’s rights, and the impact of violence on society. These themes add depth and substance to the story, elevating it beyond a simple police procedural.

Roseanna is a must-read for fans of crime fiction and police procedural novels. It is a gripping and thought-provoking story that offers an insightful look into the complexities of solving a murder case while also exploring larger societal issues. This is one of my favorite police procedural series and I highly recommend it. You can get a copy of the book from Amazon here.

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