The Fire Engine That Disappeared

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

Widely recognised as the greatest masterpieces of crime fiction ever written, these are the original detective stories that pioneered the detective genre.

Gunvald Larsson sits carefully observing the dingy Stockholm apartment of a man under police surveillance. He looks at his watch: nine minutes past eleven in the evening. He yawns, slapping his arms to keep warm. At the same moment the house explodes, killing at least three people.

Chief Inspector Martin Beck and his men don’t suspect arson or murder until they discover a peculiar circumstance and a link is established between the explosion and a suicide committed that same day, in which the dead man left a note consisting of just two words: Martin Beck.

Written in the 1960s, they are the work of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo – a husband and wife team from Sweden. The ten novels follow the fortunes of the detective Martin Beck, whose enigmatic, taciturn character has inspired countless other policemen in crime fiction. The novels can be read separately, but do follow a chronological order, so the reader can become familiar with the characters and develop a loyalty to the series. Each book has a new introduction in order to help bring these books to a new audience.

Reviews of The Fire Engine That Disappeared

  • ‘Superbly well done. It stars the gloomy head of homicide, Martin Beck, and is stunning right up to the last paragraph. The authors are ready for the great Simenon.’ New York Magazine

    ‘The tale proceeds at a fast clip, inventive and tantalizing as the pieces of the puzzle alternately fit together and fly apart…“The Fire Engine that Disappeared” is downright fascinating.’ Publishers Weekly

    ‘A gripping read, brilliantly plotted and with frequent moments of hilarity or tenderness.’ The Guardian

    Praise for Sjowall & Wahloo:

    ‘Plots are interesting as well as realistic, the various homicide men are admirably characterised, and the amused, sarcastic comments on modern Sweden are a delight.’ Sunday Times

    ‘The writing is elegant and surprisingly humorous – if you haven’t come across Beck before, you’re in for a treat.’ Guardian

    ‘One of the most authentic, gripping and profound collections of police procedurals ever accomplished.’nMichael Connelly

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