In the fourth of the Martin Beck Killings, Beck is now a Detective Superintendant. But his promotion hasn't made him any more cheerful; if anything, it's only confirmed his gloomy belief that the best way to solve crimes is by hard slog, dogged persistence, a grimly realistic view of human nature - and the occasional flash of sheer intuition. His team of colleagues, headed by Lennart Kollberg and Frederick Melander, are used to his stubborn ways and his frequent colds. His wife Inga isn't as tolerant.
The Laughing Policeman begins on the evening of a big demonstration in Stockholm against the Vietnam war; as the police are dealing with protesters outside the American embassy, a mass shooting on a bus in a suburb ends with nine dead, including one of Martin Beck's team. The trail to find the murderer leads Beck back to an unsolved case from the past that had puzzled the Swedish police for years.
Dramatised for radio by Jennifer Howarth
Original Music by Elizabeth Purnell
Directed by Sara Davies.