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Martin Beck on BBC Radio 4

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A few days ago we told you about how Modesty Blaise is returning to the airwaves thanks to a BBC serialisation of A Taste For Death. Well, there’s a treat on the way for lovers of Scandinavian crime fiction too – Radio 4 is running a 10-episode adaptation of the Martin Beck novels by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. The first episode runs on Saturday 27 October at 2:30pm BST and will focus on the very first Beck book, Roseanna. It’s a novel we looked at in-depth during our Classics in September month, lauded because it was a blueprint for future police procedurals, and established the authors as the grandparents of Nordic Noir.

Naturally, at one hour 15 minutes, the story has been shortened for radio, and has been dramatised by Jennifer Howarth. Beck is voiced by Steve Mackintosh, and his cohort Lennert by Neil Pearson. Roseanna opens with the discovery of a young woman’s body floating in a canal. The victim has been raped and murdered, but with no means of identifying her, the case quickly hits a brick wall. It’s not until several months later that Beck and his team finally get a break when they’re contacted by Interpol and our victim is finally named. She’s Roseanna McGraw, an American tourist who was travelling by boat down to southern Sweden at the time of her death. Even with this information, it’s another six months before Beck and his team finally solve the case.

Details of the nine further episodes aren’t on the BBC site as yet, but as there were 10 Beck novels it seems likely they’ll follow the original running order and The Man Who Went Up in Smoke will be next.

For more details and to hear a clip, click here. The Martin Beck Murders is running alongside Foreign Bodies: An Investigation into European Detectives which is 15 episodes long and runs every Tuesday at 1:45pm, with Mark Lawson. Episode two runs today focusing on Inspector Barlach.


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