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The Fire Engine that Disappeared: A Martin Beck Police Mystery    by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo order for
Fire Engine that Disappeared
by Maj Sjowall
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2009 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The superb writing husband and wife team of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo brings to the eager hands of their fans The Fire Engine That Disappeared, first published in Sweden in 1970. Maybe you read their stories back in the day or perhaps you're new to the pair. Whatever the case, you're in for a treat.

The Fire Engine That Disappeared is a police procedural that takes the reader inside the police station while the detectives work on the apparent murder of a man who committed suicide beforehand! This plot is ingenious and is so tightly written that one extraneous word would be just one too much. It is clever, masterfully done with a touch here and there of humor to prove that they too (the policemen) are in fact human with similar faults and foibles to the rest of us.

The characters are wonderful: Martin Back with his constant cold; Gunvald Larsson who can't quite believe that he is not superior to his cohorts; Kollberg who is increasingly in love with his wife; poor Sckake who is constantly put upon by Larsson who believes it is his privilege to single-handedly toughen up the newest member of their force. Others on the fringes are just as well-fleshed. Even though each of the men has a different life style, they work together as a team and the reader is placed in a position to know their thinking and speculations about this crime and others that seem to have become a part of the original murder.

I cannot reveal more of the plot. I don't like to ruin the book for anyone, but it is a good book and not to be missed. Also, read the introduction by Colin Dexter. He could rewrite the dictionary and I would find it engrossing.

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