Staff Book Review
By Sarah Smith, Adult Services
It’s a little odd to describe a book about a serial killer as a light read, but Helene Tursten’s pair of “An Elderly Lady” books about the evil deeds of Maud, a respectable senior citizen (in most senses), are some of the most enjoyable stories about getting away with murder that I have ever read.
Both of these adorable little hardcovers contain a series of interlinked short stories about the nearly 90-year-old Maud as she gets her revenge on the rude, dismissive, and disrespectful people around her. I may not agree with Maud’s methods, but I certainly admire the clever way she exploits society’s expectations of what an old lady is capable of to get exactly what she wants out of life.
The series starts with “An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good,” which introduces the murderous Maud, her incredible apartment, her tragic backstory, and her love of travel. It’s possible I only love Maud because I too wish to be spry enough to travel the globe in my golden years.
The follow-up, “An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed,” delves more deeply into Maud’s origins, while adding tension with the thought that she might not be able to get away with (every) murder. It is definitely unsettling to be rooting for the coldblooded killer and against the honorable detectives—detectives that fans of Tursten’s other novels might recognize.
Part of the charm of these books are the little details about life in Sweden, from the food to holiday traditions and tourist destinations. If I weren’t a little afraid I might offend the wrong elderly lady on a tram or in a shop, I would definitely consider visiting Gothenburg someday.
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