The Man in the Canal
In the summer of 1971, Army CID investigator John Murphy goes undercover to find a murderer hiding among the U.S. military deserters who have taken refuge in Sweden during the Vietnam War. At the same time, Swedish police inspector Magnus Lund tries to learn the identity of a body found floating in the historic Göta Canal. The two investigators work independently until the thread of clues bring them together for an exciting climax.
With the publication of The Man in the Canal in 2014, Maine author Paul Betit completes a trilogy he set out to write more than a decade ago.
In his most recent mystery-suspense novel, John Murphy of the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Division goes undercover in Sweden during the summer of 1971 to find a murderer believed to be hiding among the group of American military deserters who took refuge in the Scandinavian country during the Vietnam War.
“I’ve been working on this book for quite some time,” said Betit, who recently wrapped up a 38-year career as a newspaperman in Maine. “It was quite a challenge, especially since I didn’t take a step in Sweden until I had written more than half of the book.”
Betit was quite familiar with the locales of his series’ first two books, Phu Bai and Kagnew Station. While serving as an intelligence analyst with the Army during the late 1960s, Betit spent 16 months in Vietnam, the setting for Phu Bai, and nearly two years in Ethiopia, the backdrop for Kagnew Station.
“In those books, I was able to include some of my experiences in the Army to create realistic narratives,” he said.
Writing The Man in the Canal required much more research.
“While covering professional hockey as a sports writer, for example, I talked to every Swedish player I met about their homeland, language and culture,” Betit said. “During a trip to Sweden, I visited all the locales I described in the book. I also got a good idea from the dozens of people I met during my stay there what Sweden was like during the time period I was writing about.”
In The Man in the Canal, Betit introduces Magnus Lund, a Swedish police inspector who is trying to learn the identity and find the killer of a dead man found floating in the historic Göta Canal.
Murphy and Lund work independently, somewhat unaware of the each other.
“The chapters bounce back and forth between the two investigations until the thread of clues bring the two investigators together,” Betit explained.
Lloyd Ferris in the Maine Sunday Telegram writes:
In this well-crafted and suspenseful mystery, Brunswick author Paul Betit taps into his 1960s military service in Vietnam as background for his tale. This is Betit’s third novel set overseas during the Vietnam War.
It’s the best in the trilogy...."
Read the full article by clicking this link!
George Smith writes:
"Ok, now I’m hooked on John Murphy and Romana Alley. Will they get together? Where? When? And what kind of adventure is next for them?
"Retired sports writer Paul Betit’s third novel in a series, The Man in the Canal, is his best...."
Read the full article by clicking this link!
"A first rate suspense murder mystery set in Sweden. With two investigators set on collusion course to capture the killer the book will end with a bang. This thriller explores the Swedish culture as well as the emotions that surround the Vietnam war. Well done! The main character CID army investigator John Murphy has to find his way through the underground of Vietnam deserters while dealing with his own emotions but stays true to his mission. What a great read."
—Jim Smith, Kenduskeag, Maine
"John Murphy, Vietnam-era military investigator of cases in Phu Bai and Ethiopia, continues his adventures in Sweden. The community of U.S. military deserters in Sweden is a feature of that complicated era that totally slipped under my radar at the time and since. Fascinating to learn about it while enjoying another fast-moving read."
— Sarah Cook, DeForest, Wisconsin
“Once again, Maine author Paul Betit scores a bull's eye with his latest novel, The Man in the Canal. He has crafted a very good who-done-it featuring old friend John Murphy. Murphy finds himself in Sweden chasing a murderer, while a Swedish inspector in a different part of Sweden also conducts a murder investigation. We are treated to insights into each investigator which invests us in the plight of the two lawmen. We are led on a thrilling chase with an unexpected conclusion. A very entertaining read.”
— Rick Violette, Augusta, Maine
Scenes from The Man in the Canal (slideshow)