The Man on the Balcony (The Martin Beck series, Book 3)

The Man on the Balcony (A Martin Beck Novel, Book 3)

The Man on the Balcony (The Martin Beck series, Book 3)

And the buyers were getting younger and younger. Soon they would become addicts Drug-taking among young people was caused by a catastrophic philosophy which had been provoked by the prevailing system. Consequently society should be duty bound to produce an effective counterargument. For many readers, the commentary on Sweden of the late 60s might not be a drawing point, but it adds a sense of the realism regarding the society in which these fictional crimes occur.

This is a hallmark of the other books in the series as well, in which the authors "use the crime novel as a scalpel cutting open the belly of the ideological pauperized and morally debatable so-called welfare state of the bourgeois type. Take the main character, Martin Beck, for example. Now a superintendent, he still suffers from insomnia, still has problems with his wife and still has trouble making sense of society, but is not nearly as angst ridden as some of the more modern Scandinavian detectives.

He doesn't always agree with his colleagues about the way they're handling either of the cases, but he cares about them and he loves his work. He also knows how to work the system when he needs to. There is a wonderful section in this novel where Beck interviews a three year-old witness that actually made me laugh, but it could only have been Beck that pulled it off.

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Man on the Balcony is such a good novel that the time spent reading it just flies by. There's an incredible sense of sophistication in the writing, the sense of place and time is very well established, and it's an intelligent read. The length of the book might be short, but it doesn't need to be any longer -- everything that's needed to make this novel work is already there, especially in the characterizations.

I can definitely recommend it to readers of Scandinavian crime fiction, to readers who may have read one or two other books in the Martin Beck series and aren't sure about the rest, and to readers of crime fiction in general. Published in this third instalment sees a newly promoted Detective Superintendent Martin Beck setting a much darker tone than precious books. The opening description of a nondescript, forty-year old man sitting on his apartment balcony and watching Stockholm waking up brings shivers to the spine as the traffic builds and children make their way to school feeling fairly ambivalent about the whole scene playing out under his watchful eye.

Tempers amongst the police force are frayed as a serio Published in this third instalment sees a newly promoted Detective Superintendent Martin Beck setting a much darker tone than precious books. Tempers amongst the police force are frayed as a serious of vicious mugging on pensioners at the city parks is running riot, with the eighth occurrence in the last two weeks and no closer to finding the perpetrator. This man who is charged with tackling this one man crime wave is Detective Inspector Gunvald Larsson who comments that "if someone doesn't grab him soon" the perpetrator could end up taking a life.

That "someone" being either the police or a civil patrol, and Larsson seems largely indifferent to just whom it is, one of many times that society seems to sympathise with vigilante action in this novel. On the night of the eighth mugging an altogether more sinister horror awaits, as the body of a young girl who has been the victim of sexual interference and assault is found dead. Jaded before even beginning the investigation, Kollberg is faced with breaking the news to the mother of the child, just as his own wife is due to give birth.

When a second girl is discovered under similar circumstances it takes a tip off to bring the mugger into the police fold and establish that he has seen the murderer. Along with a three-year-old boy who is also believed to have witnessed the murderer, the details they provide bring a flash of inspiration from Martin Beck. Despite the money that has been poured into funding and expanding the police force in the preceding years, it is a despondent Martin Beck who muses that the criminals always seem one to remain one step ahead.

Likewise the tentative implementation of new technology and databases is cynically besmirched as meaning little if an individual's details aren't on the register and the officers regard the advances as only being able to achieve so much. One of the aspects that I noted was how much more the general public felt able to hold the police to account in this novel along with a more permissive culture and sexual freedom not bringing positives for all sectors of society, most notably when Martin Beck is approached by a young girl offering to sell naked photographs of herself and he is only too well aware that someone will quite willingly take them off her hands.

May 23, Ben Thurley rated it really liked it. The Man on the Balcony opens with a snapshot of a fervid Stockholm, sweltering on the brink of a hot summer. The disquieting tone is intensified as the narrative focuses on a man standing on his balcony, observing the goings-on in the street below as the summer sun rises in the early hours of the morning.

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His obsessive voyeurism is signalled starkly in careful detail. The man on the balcony had observed all this. The balcony was the ordinary kind with tubular iron rail and sides of corrugated metal. He had stood leaning on the rail, and the glow of this cigarette had been a tiny dark-red spot in the dark. Ten of these butts were already neatly lined up along the edge of the saucer on the little garden table.

Beyond the plot, the authors develop more of the characters of the Stockholm murder squad in more detail, particularly the brutally effective, yet unpleasant and widely-disliked, Gunvald Larsson. It also features the first appearance of Patrolmen Kristansson and Kvant, an comic duo of almost Shakespearean hue.

I don't want your germs. Or Beck's bleak assessment of the police's ability to provide reassurance and security to a troubled city: And in Stockholm and its suburbs by this time there were over a million frightened people. The hunt was entering its seventh abortive day. And they were the bulwarks of society. I think the Martin Beck novels are gems. I really liked the sense of action but frustration of the police as they fail to find their man or build a picture of the assailant.

There is tension among the officers, they are exhausted and have little time for their own lives; this is done in a fresh way and despite the novel being over 45 old it strikes you as being a clear and unique voice in terms of personal relationships; contrast to Maigret's faithful spouse. The plot is horrific in terms of subject matter; the brutal murder and rape of young girls but it doesn't sensationalize and presents the less pleasant task of police officers in breaking the news to parents and dealing with their grief.

With so much TV drama to recall it is good to read this original work reflecting a trouble society in Sweden. This isn't a complex story compared to modern crime thrillers but it is still a compelling read and brilliantly demonstrates why so many people go on about this crime writing duo. Dec 24, Seth rated it it was amazing Shelves: With masterful pacing, noir atmosphere, and a minimalist writing style, they relate the story of how detective Martin Beck and his colleagues confront an excruciatingly difficult investigative challenge.

As the stakes grow, so does the tension not only for the police but also for the reader. Social cohesion itself is in jeopardy as the number of victims increases. Computers are just now being introduced to police work in the s. The authors venture a bit into politics with subtle references to the impact of the American involvement in the war in Vietnam on political discord in Sweden and the role of the economic system in promoting social decay, as evidenced by increasing levels of alcoholism, drug addiction, and homelessness.

In this third work in a ten-part Martin Beck series, the authors are beginning to use the police procedural genre as a vehicle for social commentary and criticism. Love at first sight with the first chapter. So in love on how Beck always has this sort of an instinct that even the description given by the mugger making him curious cause it sounds freaking so familiar to him. I love Melander for his memory and Kollberg for being Kollberg.

Maj Sjöwall

This crime was more to a guessing game rather than an investigation-- I totally forgot about that balcony dude until Beck realised how it was related. The nervousness so intriguing.

Loving the author couple simple yet prose Love at first sight with the first chapter. Loving the author couple simple yet prose-gripping writing. This is very pleasing, loving this more that the first book from Martin Beck's series although the journey of the crime making me totally sad and angry but it was presented well, very humankind and satisfactorily good and informative.

Quite disturbing at a point, but the tense of them to solve the case was totally remarkable. Every bit as powerful and disturbing as the first Martin Beck criminal investigation. Grief, anger, despair and exhaustion are on the daily menu for the police force. Long hours of combing through irrelevant information, following misleading tips, waiting almost helpless for the killer to strike again and maybe make a mistake.

But never giving up.

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This series should be a model to follow Every bit as powerful and disturbing as the first Martin Beck criminal investigation. This series should be a model to follow for crime writers. None of the glamour, the witty banter or the high speed chases through the streets of big cities. Just human beings trying to fight the monsters amongst us. Sep 06, Harry rated it liked it Shelves: Book Review As each Martin Beck novel in this series is presented with a foreword by a Scandinavian writer, and to have this novel's first gasp of breath written by none other than Jo Nesbo It is fascinating to unravel the threads that tie authors to each other; tethered by influential strands like sticky spider webs authors learn from other authors.

Through reading they learn to stand on their own; through writing they gain strength and conviction and as Book Review As each Martin Beck novel in this series is presented with a foreword by a Scandinavian writer, and to have this novel's first gasp of breath written by none other than Jo Nesbo Through reading they learn to stand on their own; through writing they gain strength and conviction and as they take from what has been written they in turn become the source of what will be written.

Jo Nesbo Artists stand on the shoulders of those who have come before. That is how it is whether they like it or not and whether they are aware of it or not. Some readers see Beck as the source behind Wallander and I'm sure that to an extent that is true: Henning Mankell freely admits that Maj and Per have had a remarkable influence on his own writing.

Surprise often accompanies this discovery. Perhaps Kurt's character isn't as original as I'd thought, you might say. But then again, isn't that true of any source of inspiration? Jo Nesbo addresses this very question in his foreword: Where they go from there is, of course, up to the individual. And, naturally, they can create something quite new. And so I asked myself: I was a bit puzzled by the seeming lack of Romanticism in the style of prose. The tone is matter-of-fact, slightly borish, almost written in a deterministic fashion, free of sensationalized emotional responses, and very straightforward Ok, Peter Hoeg is an exception.

It took a while for me to discover that the term that is applied to this style of writing, although somewhat dated,is called Literary Realism and I had to get used to it! Simply put, realist authors opt for depictions of everyday and banal activities and experiences, depictions of contemporary life and society as it is, without embellishment. Per and Maj wrote their novels in this style, and it works beautifully for the genre that was their focus: Again, Jo Nesbo acknowledges this realism as well: The story is real.

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Social cohesion itself is in jeopardy as the number of victims increases. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. About The Man on the Balcony The chilling third — and breakthrough — novel in the Martin Beck mystery series by the internationally renowned crime writing duo, finds Martin Beck investigating a string of child murders. Looking f Really, really good. The story is real. Almost a little amusing: The investigation unfolds in fits and starts, with painstaking footwork, frustrating interviews, and littl The Man on the Balcony is the third instalment of the Martin Beck series of police procedurals written by the husband and wife team of Sjowall and Wahloo between

Through objective eyes, the opening scene is a sober account, there is no drama, the atmosphere is not charged in any way. Within this context Martin Beck is characterized without much embellishment. Beck's life is carefully constructed around the work place: There is no deep introspection, no emotional outbursts, no passion per se and overall Beck isn't one to enjoy company and dislikes most people.

There is the case and there is the resolution to the case and it all happens in strictly chronological fashion, much as in real life. But, it is easy to mistake the realism utilized by Per and Maj in a sense this pair are purist in this sense , with the similar realism employed to a slightly lesser extent by most of today's Scandinavian writers and this similarity can carry over into the characters, causing them to appear similar It took a reading of Frozen Moment my review to get that point across to me.

Laying aside the stylistic similarities and some physical similarities both can't sleep and suffer from bad health , Kurt Wallander often reflects on his personal life, is quite passionate about opera, falls in love easily, worries about his daughter, has ambivelence towards his ex-wife, struggles with his ailing father, possesses a mercurial attitude towards nature as many Scandinavians do , he sometimes likes his colleagues and fosters a deep fondness for dogs. This is quite a contrast to what we see portrayed in Beck. It is rather confounding, if truth be told: Some Per and Maj novels are just plain better than Henning's, and some Henning novels just outdo his mentors' output.

A Martin Beck Police Mystery (3)

So why did I give this novel 3 stars? And why go through the above explanation on Literary Realism? Because in the case of The Man on the Balcony , a novel based on a real event that happened in Stockholm, a novel that has as its focus the murder of children, I find the authors' realism employed to be distracting to the novel itself. The subject matter is emotionally charged to begin with and the matter-of-fact style serves to minimize the nature of these disturbing crimes.

To a certain extent that's probably true in real police work, but this is fiction and it is rare to find an author that will take the risk of simply depicting events in such banal terms. The risk is that it won't work for the reader.

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At least not in this case. Normally, Per and Maj hold a pedigree in plot: But in this case there were no surprises and for me there is nothing more disturbing than for a reader to have the answer while Beck does not. I found this notably absent in this particular novel. I know many Martin Beck afficianados will probably disagree, but Jo Nesbo considers this team of writers the Godfathers of Scandinavia crime fiction. Henning Mankell perhaps the most famous Nordic writer of them all often makes references to Per and Maj as having influenced his work.

After his studies, from onwards he worked as a crime reporter. After long trips around the world he returned to Sweden and started working as a journalist again. His work independent of his collaboration with Maj on the Martin Beck series primarily consists of his Dictatorship series and the two novels featuring Inspector Jensen.

They also wrote novels separately. Until recently, it was considered a scandal that publishing houses offered no translations of these two highly influential authors. But as the Nordic crime wave hit British and American soil beginning in the nineties , this egregious blot on the reputation of publishers was finally remedied There were simply too many crime writers that cited Per and Maj as the fountain head of the socially committed crime novel. Yet one more example that everything starts at the grass roots level and then filters up into the corporate halls of publishing.

I've often spoken in my reviews of Nordic fiction that aside from being excellent and compelling reads in the mystery genre, Nordic writers on the whole use this genre based platform to comment on sociopolitical issues of the day as that takes place in the Scandinavian countries. For their time, this pair of authors were considered the pioneers of this authorial attitude. Now before you decide to forego this excellent series based on the Marxist ideology of its authors, let me assure you that Per and Maj's views at no point interfere with your appreciation of a good mystery novel.

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Alle prijzen zijn inclusief BTW en andere heffingen en exclusief eventuele verzendkosten en servicekosten. De boeken verschenen tussen en In kwam de eerste roman uit, De vrouw in het Gotakanaal en tien jaar later werd de reeks voltooid met De terroristen. De boeken zijn allemaal verfilmd en zijn ook in deze tijd nog steeds verrassend actueel.

Vanaf het begin was duidelijk dat er tien boeken zouden verschijnen. Ze wilden met hun tien romans de toenmalige misstanden in de Zweedse samenleving aan de kaak stellen. Toon meer Toon minder. Samenvatting The third book in the classic Martin Beck detective series from the s - the novels that shaped the future of Scandinavian crime writing. Written in the s, 10 books completed in 10 years, they are the work of Maj Sjoewall and Per Wahloeoe - a husband and wife team from Sweden.

They follow the fortunes of the detective Martin Beck, whose enigmatic, taciturn character has inspired countless other policemen in crime fiction; without his creation Ian Rankin's John Rebus or Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander may never have been conceived. The novels can be read separately, but are best read in chronological order, so the reader can follow the characters' development and get drawn into the series as a whole.

The Man on the Balcony' balances the most inhuman of crimes with the humanity of the men who must solve it - resulting in a police procedural that is as moving and credible as it is enthralling. Recensie s Authentic seeming, grim, but fascinating.