The Man Who Went Up in Smoke

Having just arrived on a beautiful, remote island for his much-needed Summer break with his wife and young children, Detective Inspector Martin Beck is summoned back to Stockholm within less than 24 hours of his arrival. He is summoned to meet a man from the Foreign Office who then sends him on a seemingly pointless and highly unofficial mission to Budapest in search of a missing journalist. It is only when Beck has pretty much given up on the case that the truth finally emerges.

The Man Who Went Up in Smoke is the second in the Martin Beck series, dramatised by BBC Radio 4. Written by the husband and wife team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.

The Martin Beck series, written over a period of ten years 1965-1975, gives an interesting insight into Sweden of the mid-1960s. It was to later influence writers like Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo.

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

The next book in the series, The Man on the Balcony, Martin Beck and the murder squad investigate the killing of young girls in the parks of Stockholm.

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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