#AW80Books: ‘Roseanna’ by Sjowall & Wahloo

I’m afraid this review will be more ‘scanty’ than ‘Scandi’. It’s always more difficult to find time to write during the school holidays, but currently, I also have a poorly child struck down with shingles requiring the Florence Nightingale treatment, while the other child is heading off to sea in two days time for four whole months  *gulp*. So, I do apologise for my brevity.

My recent forays into Icelandic crime led me to explore other Scandinavian noir, and as the authors of Roseanna – Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, are considered to be the godparents of Scandinavian Crime fiction, it seemed a good place to start. The novel, translated by Lois Roth, covers a murder investigation led by detective Inspector Martin Beck, after a woman’s body is found, dredged from a lake in Southern Sweden. As I read, I kept my atlas open at my side, and had a nose at the lakes and canals on google maps, so I felt more connected to the location, and felt I was making the most of my armchair travels.

Maj Sjöwall och Per Wahlöö.

Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö. 

The novel was tense, gripping and pacey, despite the initial blanks drawn by the police investigation. Beck makes for a quietly interesting character. Wedded to his work as an escape from his unhappy home-life, his hunches and insights into the case reveal him to have a brilliant mind and a steely nerve under a more mundane exterior, reminding me very much of Le Carré’s George Smiley.


The case is solved after a truly nail-biting dénouement, and it left me craving more. This definitely won’t be last novel I read by Sjöwall and Wahlöö, although I think I’ll be popping back to Iceland first as I’ve a feeling there’s a Reykjavik murder mystery waiting to be solved.

If you fancy a nose at where Lucy and I have been so far on our ‘Around the World in 80 Books’ Reading Challenge, you can find that here.