Maria Lang is Sweden’s answer to Agatha Christie and made her debut in 1949 with The Murderer Doesn’t Lie Alone 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 of 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 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, has adapted parts of the series into a successful TV production and Norstedts has also re-launched this vintage crime gem in new editions with an imagery of the 1950’s.