Konsten att lägga pussel. Deckaren och besvärjandet av ondskan i folkhemmet

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The present thesis, Konsten att lägga pussel. Deckaren och besvärjandet av ondskan i folkhemmet, constitutes a literary and cultural-historical investigation of the Swedish 'whodunit' from 1945 to 1965, a period when the genre flourished in Sweden. The central questions that the thesis attempts to answer are: How does the Swedish whodunit emerge and develop in a dialogue with its time during the period, usually referred to as the Cold War, and how was a new narrative of good and evil formulated within the framework of this genre?

The first chapter contains two main components: a presentation of the whodunit genre and its emergence in 1950s Sweden, and a discussion of the whodunit as a literary formula. Chapter 2 deals with Stieg Trenter's novel Ristat i sten from 1952 and primarily discussesthe attitude to women represented in the novel, as well as the function of male and female. Chapter 3 examines the theme of normal versus deviant sexuality in Maria Lang'sfirst novel, Mördaren ljuger inte ensam from 1949. Chapter 4 deals with H.-K. Rönblom'sdetective novel Senatorn kommer tillbaka from 1959. In this novel Rönblom raised the issues of the family, the small town in Sweden, relations between Sweden and the United States, and the relationship between the individual and the collective. Finally, chapter 5 discusses the results of the investigation, grouping them according to major themes: threatened and threatening youth; the woman's role; town and country; and the role of the detective as the protector of threatened progress.

The whodunit novels give us ongoing discussions and renegotiations of those social values, roles, and modes of behaviour which other media appear to advocate at the relevant point in time. By stressing good moral qualities like cooperation and family values, issues that were directly connected to the central Swedish metaphor of the time, folkhemmet, the whodunit keeps evil at bay.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Comparative Literature
  • Larsson, Lisbeth, Supervisor
Award date2005 Dec 10
ISBN (Print)91-7139-731-0
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2005-12-10
Time: 10:15
Place: Humanisthusets hörsal, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Persson, Magnus
Title: Fil dr
Affiliation: Malmö Högskola, Lärarutbildningen


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature


  • General and comparative literature
  • Historia
  • History
  • Historia och konstvetenskap
  • History and Arts
  • Humaniora
  • Humanities
  • pastoral
  • the fifties
  • crime novel
  • the Cold War
  • detective
  • Allmän och jämförande litteraturvetenskap
  • Scandinavian languages and literature
  • Nordiska språk (språk och litteratur)

Cite this