This is the first in a series of ten Swedish police novels, written in the Sixties by a married couple, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. The pair were committed Marxists who approached the ten book series as a complete novel, one which addressed what they saw as the stifling nature of 1960s Sweden. They are also credited with a major role in the invention of the police procedural, that sub-genre of the crime novel which is more concerned with the teamwork (not to mention legwork) involved in solving a crime than with the brilliance of a single, genius detective.
The Roseanna of the title is dragged out of a canal in the novel's first chapter. She had been subjected to a brutal sexual assault and then murdered. The police, led by detective Martin Beck, have nothing to go on.
In between long periods in which the police have little to do except wait, the case comes together through a combination of lucky breaks and solid police work. Despite its age, the book fits in well with contemporary TV cop shows such as The Wire and The Shield.
Only the conclusion feels dated. The killer is trapped in a way that may have been original at the time but is now hopelessly cliched. It's a huge letdown but, even so, doesn't spoil the book which is absorbing and feels thoroughly authentic.
I'll be reading book two very soon.