Maj Sjöwall (1935) and Per Wahlöö (1926-1975) were a crime writing duo that is best known for their series of ten books about Martin Beck. They have been given the credit of creating the modern detective novel.
Sjöwall/Wahlöö were socialists and their novels are written from their viewpoint, criticising Swedish society, which at the time was ruled by a social democratic government. Many important political events in the world were used as backdrops in the novels, such as the Vietnam War.
The first book in the Martin Beck series, “Roseanna” was published in 1965 and after that, the duo published one book each year for ten years, up until the last one, “The Terrorists”, in 1975. All the ten books were given the subtitle “Report of a Crime”, indicating the criticism of the capitalist society which the authors included in their books.
“The Laughing Policeman” won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Novel and was later adapted into an American film with the same name in 1973, starring Walter Matthau as Detective Jake Martin (Martin Beck).
All of the books in the series have been adapted into films at least once, mainly in Sweden, but also by German, American, Belgian and Dutch production companies.
The body of a young woman is found in a canal, but nobody can identify her and the trace quickly goes cold.
Eight people are killed in a madman's attack of a public transport bus and Martin Beck and his team investigate the crime.
Martin Beck investigates the murder of a wealthy businessman who is shot in an exclusive restaurant.