The Man on the Balcony

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

Hugely acclaimed, the Martin Beck series were the original Scandinavian crime novels and have inspired the writings of Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo. Written in the 1960s, 10 books completed in 10 years, they are the work of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö – a husband and wife team from Sweden. They follow the fortunes of the detective Martin Beck, whose enigmatic, taciturn character has inspired countless other policemen in crime fiction; without his creation Ian Rankin’s John Rebus or Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander may never have been conceived. The novels can be read separately, but are best read in chronological order, so the reader can follow the characters’ development and get drawn into the series as a whole. ‘The Man on the Balcony’ balances the most inhuman of crimes with the humanity of the men who must solve it – resulting in a police procedural that is as moving and credible as it is enthralling.

Reviews of The Man on the Balcony

  • ‘Authentic seeming, grim, but fascinating.’ Sunday Telegraph

    ‘A well-told, documentary-type tale of how the Stockholm police slog away…There is something of Ed McBain’s “87th Precinct” novels about it, but with less of a factory finish.’ Spectator

    ‘They changed the genre. Whoever is writing crime fiction after these novels is inspired by them in one way or another.’ Henning Mankell

    ‘If you haven’t read Sjöwall/Wahlöö, start now.’ Sunday Telegraph

    ‘Pick up one book…and you become unhinged. You want to block out a week of your life, lie to your boss, and stay in bed, gorging on one after another.’ Observer

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