Monday, October 04, 2021

An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten

First Line: Maud let out a loud sigh of relief as she sank into her comfortable seat on the plane.
Things were rather tense in eighty-nine-year-old Maud's Gothenburg apartment after a dead body was found there, and just as she was thinking that everything was back to normal, two police inspectors, Huss and Nyström, knock at her door once more. She evades their questions with ease, but Maud thinks that it's best if she takes a vacation. Someplace warm. Someplace far away.

These six interlocking stories blend Maud's present with some of the problems she's dealt with in the past. And if there's one thing that Maud knows how to deal with quickly and efficiently, it's a problem.


Part of me wants to be just like Maud. This woman is eighty-nine and still more than able to go on safari. She's got all her marbles. Her health and mobility are good. She's got enough money to live the life that she wants. Good for her! There's just one fly in the ointment: her attitude towards taking a life-- and this is one reason why some people will not see the humor in these stories, and why I call them a guilty pleasure. This is fiction, not real life. In fiction, isn't it nice to be able to do away with a thoroughly nasty human who's causing harm to others? I figure as long as I think a little fictional murder is okay does not stray into the real world, I should be okay.

What's so unsettling is Maud herself. She's irascible, yet once you learn of the life she's had to lead, she's sympathetic, too. You're not supposed to feel sympathetic toward a killer. The humor these stories contain can also keep you off balance. Just the thought of a little old eighty-nine-year-old woman carrying out a murder or two... shouldn't she be sitting in front of the fire with her knitting?

One of the things I found most enjoyable about this latest collection of Maud stories is that Maud gets drawn outside of herself and becomes involved in the lives of others. It's how she plans the next stage of her life that really put the smile on my face. I'm hoping that we might hear from this little old lady at least one more time.
An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten
Translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy.
eISBN: 9781641291682
Soho Press © 2021
eBook, 272 pages
Short Stories
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley


  1. I do like Tursten, Cathy. And Maud sounds like a terrific character. I want to be like her, too! I have to admit, I've not read TUrsten's short stories, but this sounds like a good way to try them.

    1. Yes, it is, but in a way, they are very different from her novels.

  2. I read book one of Maud's stories. I liked her and the book. There is humor in that book and others which involve murder. Think of Donald Westlake and any number of authors' wrtings.
    I thought of Bluff right away, very funny, but there is murder.
    David Rosenfet's books are funny, but there is always a murder, that this "reluctant" defense attorney gets pulled into.
    Michael Connelly's Mickey Haller books can be funny. And on and on. Humor can fit into a good mystery.

    I mean Sherlock Holmes died and then came back to detect again. If that isn't funny, I don't know what is.

    1. Yes... but of all those authors you mentioned, how many of their main characters are the ones who are committing the murders?

  3. I need to read the first one. I missed out on the first one on NetGalley because I didn't read all the reviews until the book was archived. Now, the library may be my best bet.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!