Writer and journalist Maj Sjï¿½wall was born in Sweden in 1935. She was a reporter and art director at several newspapers and magazines. From 1959 to 1961, she was an editor with the publishing house Wahlstrï¿½m and Widstrad. She met Per Wahlï¿½ï¿½ in 1961 and they married the following year. Together they wrote all ten novels in the Martin Beck Police Mystery series from 1965 to 1975. In 1971, The Laughing Policeman (a translation of Den Skrattande Polisen) won an Edgar Award for Best Novel.
Per Wahlï¿½ï¿½ was born in Gï¿½teborg. After graduating from the University of Lund in 1946, he worked as a journalist, covering criminal and social issues for a number of newspapers and magazines. In the 1950s Wahlï¿½ï¿½ was engaged in radical political causes, activities that resulted in his deportation from Franco's Spain in 1957. After returning to Sweden, he wrote a number of television and radio plays, and was managing editor of several magazines, before becoming a full-time writer.
Val McDermid was born in Scotland on June 4, 1955. She was the first student from a state school in Scotland accepted to read English at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She graduated in 1975 and became a journalist. She wrote her first novel at the age of 21. It didn't get published, but she turned it into a play entitled Like a Happy Ending. It was performed by the Plymouth Theatre Company and was later adapted for BBC radio. Her first book, Report for Murder, was published in 1987. She is the author of the Lindsay Gordon Mystery series, the Kate Brannigan Mystery series, and the Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Mysteries series as well as several stand alone books including The Distant Echo, A Darker Domain, and Trick of the Dark. The Mermaids Singing won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year.