If you are off to Grandmother’s house this year for the holidays, you’ll be glad that she isn’t anything like Maud, the protagonist from Helene Tursten’s new collection of connected short stories, An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed. In some ways, Maud, at 89-years-old, is inspirational: she is spry, resourceful, and unafraid to travel internationally and live alone. However, Maud is also not above “acting her age” by using fake hearing aids as props to avoid answering pesky questions from unwanted visitors, like the police. Maud also is unafraid to solve her problems the permanent way — with murder!
In order to avoid further questions regarding a dead body in her apartment, Maud decides to embark on a lavish trip to Africa. On her flight, she reminisces about her past — and mostly bloodless past murders that she has carried out over the years. These vignettes of Maud exacting her own brand of justice are a bit dark, but they are funny and mostly bloodless affairs, made to look like accidents. This modern day avenging octogenarian isn’t very nice but she does care for some people in her own strange way, and her unapologetic and no-nonsense attitude about how life (and death) should work will keep you turning the pages to see who Maud might target next.
For maximum enjoyment, laughs and intrigue, start with Tursten’s first book starring Maud, An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good.