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When Viktor Palmgren, a powerful industrialist, is shot during an after-dinner speech, the repercussions—both on the international money markets and on the residents of the small coastal town of Malmö—are widespread. Chief Inspector Martin Beck is called in to help catch a killer nobody, not even the victim, was able to identify. He begins a systemic search for the friends, enemies, business associates and call girls who may have wanted Palmgren dead. But in the process, he finds to his dismay that he has nothing but contempt for the victim and sympathy for the murderer.
This is the sixth thrilling installment in the Martin Beck detective series from the 1960s, the novels that have inspired all crime fiction written ever since.