Inspector Martin Beck, 10

February 11, 2012

The final chapter in the series, The Terrorists, ties up a lot of loose ends.

The surviving members of the team – one resigned from the police a book or two back – have finally learned how to bridge their differences and work together as a team. Unlike the rest of the Stockholm police force, they are competent and caring.

Reading this book post-9/11 world, one can’t help being disturbed by the fact that terrorism provides the focus for Sjowall and Wahloo’s final chapter. The international team that roves from country to country killing top officials could have been a model for any number of the real-life terrorist groups that have surfaced over the past 40 years. The battle of wits that ensues between Martin Beck and the terrorists is a terrific suspenseful read.

Of course, the terrorist plot is not the complete story. Does Martin Beck eventually find love? Yes. Does the Swedish establishment figure out how to treat its neglected underclass properly? Sadly no. Is there a simple answer to this problem? On the very last page, Sjowall and Wahloo famously suggested it might start with “X as in Marx”. I’m old enough to know that we once took this suggestion seriously.

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One Response to “Inspector Martin Beck, 10”

  1. […] the Martin Beck series all packed up and sent off to various friends, it was time for a new round of Swedish […]

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