The Martin Beck Killings: Roseanna

Roseanna is the first in the Martin Beck series, written over a period of ten years 1965-1975 by the husband and wife writing team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.

A body is found in a canal. No clues. Eventually a breakthrough, she is found to be an American tourist, a librarian on holiday in Sweden.

Detective Inspector Martin Beck is a detective in the newly formed National Homicide Squad based in Stockholm. He is helped by his colleague Detective Sergeant Lennart Kollberg.

The series give a very good picture of Sweden in the mid-1960s, can be seen as the forerunner of the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larssen.

In an ambitious project, BBC Radio 4 are dramatizing the entire Martin Beck series.

An interesting narration by the husband and wife team, it is distant, as though witnessing from afar, very much the style Kafka uses when observing Joseph K in The Trial.

The next book in the series, The Man Who Went Up in Smoke, Martin Beck carries out an unofficial investigation in Budapest, in search of a missing journalist.

Unusual for the BBC these dramatisations are being kept on-line for a year, not seven days. Though does beg the question why not keep indefinitely?

In parallel BBC Radio 4 has a series Foreign Bodies looking at European Detective Fiction, only they could not have chosen a worst presenter than the ghastly Mark Lawson if they had tried. True to form, this series is only being kept on-line for seven days.

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