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Brave New World
Aldous Huxley
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Philip K. Dick
Brian Wilson Aldiss
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Abraham Maslow

The Man Who Went Up in Smoke

The Man Who Went Up in Smoke - Maj Sjowall;Per Wahloo This is the second of the ten Martin Beck novels. The first is Roseanna. They are quiet different books. Roseanna begins with the discover of the body. In this book Martin Beck is asked to track down a man who has disappeared. He was last seen in Budapest – this is 1966, Hungary is behind the Iron Curtain. Beck is followed, he thinks by the security police. There is an attempt on his life. He returns to Sweden without having found his man. Back home the investigation continues.I don’t want to give anything away so won’t say too much more. I liked the pun in the title. The character of Martin Beck is further developed. His marriage is slowly breaking apart, and you get the feeling that the marriages’ of all cops are breaking apart. The ongoing investigation does leaves Beck feeling drained. When it is over he recommences the summer holiday he was about to take at the beginning. This time, instead of looking forward to it, he feels sickened. The crime itself isn’t sickening – as the crime in Roseanna was – it is the inevitability of it all. The day will never come where Beck hangs up his hat and says ‘The streets are safe.’ Society gets slowly worse. The crimes keeping coming. Some are trivial some nasty. People live and die and Beck helps clean up the mess. And by the time one mess is cleaned two more are made. Beck’s sickness is societies sickness and if things don’t change they will continue to get slowly worse.I hadn’t read much Swedish literature until I started reading Swedish Crime. I’m most of the way through the final Millennium Trilogy book. Upstairs I have a Wallander novel ready to read – although it is number 4 in the series and I don’t think I will be able to read it until I have read 1-3 first. As Beck makes his way around Stockholm I begin to recognise the street names. It must be what readers of Sherlock Holmes feel like when the read about London. At some point I’ll visit Stockholm and find a pleasant friendly city, but I won’t be able to shake of the murder and rape that occurs in these books. As for Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, they would probably be pleased to know it. They wanted to reveal the real city, not the free love paradise image that Sweden had in the sixties .