The Abominable Man

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The Abominable Man
First US edition
Author Sjöwall and Wahlöö
Original title Den vedervärdige mannen från Säffle
Country Sweden
Language Swedish
Series Martin Beck series
Publisher Norstedts Förlag (Sweden)
Pantheon Books (US)
Publication date
Published in English
Pages 194 pp
ISBN 91-1-715611-4
OCLC 13383505
LC Class PT9876.29.J63 V4
Preceded by Murder at the Savoy
Followed by The Locked Room

The Abominable Man (Den vedervärdige mannen från Säffle) is a Swedish crime novel by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö from 1971 in the series revolving around police detective Martin Beck. One of Donald Knuth's favourite novels, "one of Sjöwall and Wahlöö's brilliantly Swedish detective novels".[1]


A senior policeman known for brutality is violently knifed while in his hospital bed. Within a 24 hour period, Martin Beck investigates the policeman's many enemies in an attempt to identify the killer, for whom the murder was only a precursor to a Charles Whitman-style attack on Stockholm.

Characters and their development[edit]

Martin Beck and his now grown-up daughter Ingrid develop their friendship; they eat out together. Police officer Kurt Kvant is killed in this book by the crazed killer on the roof.

Film adaptation[edit]

Main article: The Man on the Roof

The book was adapted to film in 1976 and directed by Bo Widerberg. It was renamed The Man on the Roof (Mannen på taket) and Carl-Gustaf Lindstedt played the lead role as Martin Beck.


Preceded by
Murder at the Savoy
"Martin Beck" timeline, part 7 of 10 Succeeded by
The Locked Room