The Fire Engine that Disappeared (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
The lightning-paced fifth novel in the Martin Beck mystery series by the internationally renowned crime writing duo, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, finds Beck investigating one of the strangest, most violent, and unforgettable crimes of his career.The incendiary device that blew the roof off a Stockholm apartment not only interrupted the small, peaceful orgy underway inside, it nearly took the lives of the building's eleven occupants. And if one of Martin Beck's colleagues hadn't been on the scene, the explosion would have led to a major catastrophe because somehow a regulation fire-truck has vanished. Was it terrorism, suicide, or simply a gas leak? And what if, anything, did the explosion have to do with the peculiar death earlier that day of a 46-year-old bachelor whose cryptic suicide note consisted of only two words: "Martin Beck"?
"Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men" Seneca
By Leonard Fleisig "Len" - July 15, 2009
The Fire Engine That Disappeared, first published in Sweden in 1969 was the fifth in a series of ten Martin Beck mysteries written by the Swedish, husband and wife team of Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. The plot and structure of the Beck mysteries I've read to date do not deviate from the standard format found in any well-written police procedural. However, what sets the Beck mysteries apart is their location and character development. Naturally enough, each book is a small window into Swedish life and culture in the 1960s and 1970s when the books were written.
Further, as the series develops the character of Beck and his colleagues evolve and the reader slowly obtains a real feel for Beck and his fellow police officers. By this fifth book, the personalities of Martin Beck and his police colleagues have developed to the point where the reader almost has an instinct for how each will react to a given situation. At the same time the characters, especially Beck, remain far from... read more
Another excellent entry in the series
By daveklein222 - September 27, 2002
The fifth Martin Beck novel. When an apartment building under police surveillance mysteriously explodes in the middle of the night, it's up to Beck to solve the crime. Was it terrorism? Assassination? Or just a gas leak? One of the better novels in the series, this is the first one to deal seriously with organized crime and the underworld. It also gives more time to the hilarious Gunvald Larsson, introduced in earlier novels but here playing a major supporting role. An excellent crime thriller.
Good Police Detective Novel
By jlsoaz - March 23, 2000
set in 70's Sweden, one of the "Martin Beck" Mysteries (there are 10 of them I think). Although they were Swedish, they made it into mainstream American Paperback print. Racy covers with contradictorily reasonably serious themes and decent writing."And just why is it not longer in print?" one of the bureaucrats might ask."Ridiculous" Beck might think under his breath.These books give me the feeling that the authors really had a lot of experience in the world of police detective work. I don't know if they did or not. I think perhaps they were journalists who covered some criminal investigations. There isn't a gunfight on every other page, and they don't get the guy who did it quite as easily as all that.The work is methodical and frustrating, but in the end things get done and in the end the book is a satisfying read with small insights into both the work and the lives of the men.This particular one has a good bit of... read more