Maria Lang is Sweden’s answer to Agatha Christie, and the origin of the crime novel wave of our times. She debuted in 1949 with Mördaren ljuger inte ensam and for the next 42 years she published one book per year, and quickly became one of the most popular and widely read crime writers.
Her books are traditional puzzle mysteries often set in the academic environment or in the small mining town Skoga, a slight euphemism for Nora where the author lived for many years. Christer Wijk, a handsome and pipe-smoking detective is the recurrent problem solver in her books. The protagonist in the first novels is the dashing professor’s daughter Puck Ekstedt, but from Vår sång blir stum/Our song is dumb (1960), Almi Graan (an anagram of Maria Lang) a detective novelist helps Wijk solve the criminal mysteries.
Maria Lang describes human passions and erotic conflicts but is sometimes startlingly modern. Like in her first novel, where she makes a both matter of fact and passionate plea that also homosexual love is real love. And this is written only five years after homosexuality was decriminalized and thirty years before the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare stopped declaring it a disease.
Swedish television channel, TV4, is making a series based on six of Maria Lang’s books from the forties and fifties, all set around Skoga and in different seasons, to be broadcasted in 2013 internationally. Denmark, Norway and Finland are confirmed so far. Norstedts are re-launching this vintage crime gem in new editions with an imagery of the 1950’s.