Swedish crime takes a clever turn in five stories about an unassuming yet devious 88-year-old female retiree-turned-murderer.
Swedish crime author Helene Tursten is no stranger to creating strong-willed female heroines who are embroiled in the dark undersides of society. In An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, Tursten adds comic relief to a murderous mix. In five brief stories, she shares the exploits of Maud, a never-married, 88-year-old woman who lives alone in a spacious, rent-free, first-floor apartment in Gothenburg, Sweden. Maud has long outlived her family. The retired language arts teacher has pressed on, undaunted and self-reliant--traveling the world, relying on the aid of a walker. With nothing to lose, Maud lives life on her own terms and doesn't let anything--or anyone--get in her way. Whether in her apartment, on the streets or in the shops of Stockholm and even aboard a Mediterranean luxury liner, Maud oils the wheels of justice. She capitalizes on--and oftentimes creates--"accidents" as retribution for those she distrusts and with whom she has an ax to grind. This includes antique dealers with designs on Maud's precious belongings; nosy, overbearing and disruptive neighbors; and a glamorous model, a star of Swedish soft porn on the brink of marrying a now 90-year-old man who was once Maud's one true love.
Tursten is best known for the hard-boiled Detective Inspector Irene Huss series of novels (Who Watcheth). However, the comic twists and turns she delivers in this compact collection are equally engrossing. Unassuming, murderous Maud--with her devious, pseudo-innocent charm--makes these concise stories wickedly funny and addictively readable.
An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten
(Translated by Marlaine Delargy)
Soho Crime, $12.99 Hardcover, 9781641290111, 184 pages
Publication Date: November 2018
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NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (December 21, 2018), link HERE