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About Malin Thunberg Schunke

Malin Thunberg Schunke is an associate professor of criminal law and has worked as a prosecutor. She was born in 1969 in Skövde (Sweden), but lives in Hanover and Sardinia with her family.

After having written several legal books, she published her first novel Ett högre syfte (A higher purpose) in 2019. It is the first part in a new crime series about the prosecutors Esther Edh and Fabia Moretti who work at Eurojust in the Hague. Ett högre syfte (A higher purpose) was nominated for the "Crimetime Award" 2019 and was awarded best debut novel of the year by the Swedish Crime Academy. 

Her second novel De rättslösa (The Outlaws) was published in 2020 and Bara ett spel (Just a game) was released in 2021. 

Is it true that the famous writer Maj Sjöwall was one of the first to read the manuscript for your debut novel?

 

"Yes, that is correct. My Publishing house first send the manuscript to Maj Sjöwall and in her statement she wrote among other things: 'Publish, Punlish, PUBLISH! This is a fantastic book. I am fire and flames; It feels like I've been waiting for this book all my life.'

To me, these words were of great significance. Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö's books have significantly influenced Swedish crime fiction."

Why are your books written from an international perspective?

"In 1996 I took a year of leave from my job as a prosecutor in Stockholm to study international criminal law at King's College in London. This decision changed my life. At first, I was fascinated by how national criminal law was becoming international. Then I became even more fascinated by a German fellow student. The result was that I settled in Hanover, got three children and wrote a doctoral dissertation on cross-border criminal investigations in the EU.

 

Today, police and prosecutors in different countries must work together to investigate criminals across borders. At the same time, culture, mentality and not least the law sometimes clash. When I started to write legal books about such cooperation, I noticed the special dynamics in international investigations and got the idea to create a fiction series with a European base. At the moment this is missing in the genre, which often has a strict local or national perspective."

 

How did the idea for your debut novel come up?​

"In 2013 I wrote a legal book called Whose responsibility?. It is about individuals who are suspected of crime abroad. When the book was published, I could not stop thinking about the tragical human destinies.

What if you were on holiday somewhere in Europe but suddenly suspected of a serious crime? If you were to be deprived of your liberty far away from your family? Be interrogated in a language you do not understand? Have to fight to be believed in a foreign legal process?

 

That was the seed for my debut novel Ett högre syfte (A Higher Purpose) which is about a Swedish man who gets arrested during a stag party on the French Riviera and ends up in one of France's worst prisons."

​Who are your main characters?

“The Swedish prosecutor Esther Edh and the Italian prosecutor Fabia Moretti. It was a natural choice that a Swedish prosecutor would be in the center of the story but the second main character took more time to develop. Until one day, my family bought a dilapidated summer house in Sardinia that we started renovating and Fabia Moretti was born. She is a colourful Italian woman, at the same time chaotic and genius.

This duo of two strong women Esther Edh and Fabia Moretti forms the basis of my series."

 

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