This is the third book in the Martin Beck series by Sjöwall and Wahlöö, and according to the introduction by Jo Nesbø (one of the marketing bits on the cover of my edition), it’s based on a true story. It’s a police procedural focusing on brutal crimes committed against very young girls in June 1967 in Stockholm, and there is also a series of very violent muggings that occupy the first half of the book.
Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s crimes are always shockingly violent in the books I’ve read so far in the series, and the process of investigating always seems to be tough and time-consuming on Beck and on his team members Kollberg and others. Sjöwall and Wahlöö also bring in a couple younger police officers, and it gives them an opportunity to talk about why different people join the police force and what they accomplish day to day and throughout their careers.
I appreciated the brevity: the crimes were heinous enough, and I’m not sure I could have been able to keep reading about such a violent criminal on the loose if the book had been longer.
There are a couple spots where the translation feels out of date (talk of “stoolies,” for example), it’s strange to see so few female police officers (and in this book it’s only a mention of one), and times that I’m perplexed yet again why there is so much focus on young unmarried women character’s love lives, but otherwise the book feels contemporary.
I bought my copy of the book