- The Laughing Policeman (novel)
name = The Laughing Policeman
title_orig = Den skrattande polisen
Sjöwall and Wahlöö
language = Swedish
series = "Martin Beck" series
pages = 240 pp
The Man on the Balcony
The Fire Engine That Disappeared
"The Laughing Policeman" (1968), by
Sjöwall and Wahlöö, is the fourth police detective novel, in the ten-part ' Martin Beck' series. Originally published in Sweden in 1968 as "Den skrattande polisen", it is the first novel in the series to criticize the shortcomings of the Swedish welfare state. Fact|date=March 2007 In 1971, "The Laughing Policeman" — the title derives from the eponymous song — earned a 'Best Novel' Edgar Awardfrom the Mystery Writers of America. The American police procedural film, "The Laughing Policeman" (1973) featuring Walter Matthau, is a loose adaptation of the novel.
The title explained
The novel's title, "The Laughing Policeman", derives from a 1922 song so titled: Detective Beck receives the record as a Christmas gift from his daughter, Ingrid, but does not think it a funny joke, yet, Beck's first laugh, comes when the dead Det. Ake Stenström is vindicated.
A gunman shoots the passengers of a public transport bus with a sub-machine gun; he kills eight people (including Detective Ake Stenstrom), and wounds one. Detective Beck and his team suspect the mass-murder is to disguise the murder of Detective Stenstrom, who was spending his free time investigating the sixteen-year-old murder of a Portuguese whore.
To solve the case, several outsiders are called: Detective Ullholm (a reactionary who informs on his fellow officers a hobby); Per Månsson (introduced in a previous novel; is the man who can find anything); and detective Nordin (the most tenacious investigator). Åsa Torrell, Stenström's girlfriend, plays a significant, emotional, part in the story, and, after slowly recovering from the shock of her boyfriend's murder, admits to planning to join the police.
Cinema, television, and theatrical adaptations
The eponymous American police procedural film, "The Laughing Policeman" (1973), features
Walter Matthauas Detective Jake Martin (the literary Martin Beck). The story is transpalnted from Stockholm to San Francisco. In the film, homosexual businessman Henry Camarero shoots a busload of passengers, including off-duty police detective, Dave Evans, who is following him, in search of information linking Camarero to the murder of his wife, Teresa, two years earlier. Evans was the partner of Det. Jake Martin on that case, who, obsessed with it, returns to it after many dead-end leads in the bus massacre investigation; a murdered passenger was a Camarero business associate who helped him cover Teresa Camarero's murder. Defying the orders of his police superior ( Anthony Zerbe), Det. Martin and his new partner Leo Larsen ( Bruce Dern) seek, find, and smoke out Camarero, leading to a chase and a confrontation with him aboard on another bus.
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