Someone is killing young girls in the once-peaceful parks of Stockholm - killing them after having his way. The people of Stockholm are tense and fearful. Police Superintendent Martin Beck has two witnesses: a cold-blooded mugger who won't say much and a three-year-old boy who can't say much. The dedicated work of the police force seems to be leading nowhere, and with each passing day, the likelihood of another murder grows. But then Beck remembers someone - or something - he overheard.More
"Hauntingly effective." (New York Times Book Review)
"These books are cream to crime buffs." (Cosmopolitan)
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Part of an Extra-Ordinary Series
How Times Have Changed
Despite his poor work giving voice to the children in the piece, I can't help loving Tom Wiener's voice when he reads these books. There are narrators who simply become the voice of a series for those who hear them, and Wiener is that for the Martin Beck stories. I know he's not everyone's favourite, but there is something in the booze soaked, nicotine gravel of his tone that feels right to me.
Like is probably not the correct word, but what most interested me was the reflection upon attitudes in the 60s to the attitudes today. There are things that happen in the book, decisions that Beck and Kolberg make that -- in the context of a Western nation in the 60s -- completely make sense, but that today would send our young social justice warriors ascreaming. People did things differently back then. There were different priorities, even when it came to crime, and it is a good reminder of where we were and how far we've come.
Again, I don't think I can judge Wiener's narration fairly since I love it so, but if there is anything Wiener excels at, it is his pacing. He is easy to follow, keeps the story rolling, and has a perfect way with moving us through the plot.
There was no extreme reaction from me, but more a slow nod of satisfaction.
This is a fascinating entry in the Martin Beck books, but if you've not read the first two before you find yourself here, stop! Stop and go back to Roseanna. Then you will be where you want to be, and when you reach here you will have a greater appreciation for the story.
- Brad Simkulet