An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, by Helene Tursten. Translated by Marlaine Delargy. Pub 2018
A quick read to start the year, I picked up this book as an impulse purchase during Christmas shopping as a gift for a friend, but was so intrigued by this quirky little book that I decided to read it myself. It is 5 very short stories, all about a devious old woman who sees murder as an acceptable approach to solving the problems of every day life. Maud, the no-good lady of the title, is indeed elderly but far from helpless, as her unwitting victims learn too late.
The stories are cute and simple, and the reader becomes sympathetic with her in the early stories – who hasn’t thought of doing-in their troublesome neighbours? The later stories are less engaging, and seem to be more of a teaser for the author’s more serious detective novels. By the end of the book, I had lost my sympathy for Maud, as she seems to have developed a serial killer’s delight in getting-away-with-it rather than the macabre mad-cap (but almost understandable) murders of the earlier stories.
As above, it was the packaging of the stories that captivated me – a 4×6 hardcover with cross-stitching cover art and teasing title. The brief stories make it easy to peruse when time is short and the small size make it easily transportable. I can see why they place these at pay-points – the perfect impulse purchase.
The book is a neat twist on the murder genre – a octogenarian serial killer is certainly novel – and a nice easy read, but ultimately not as much fun as the cute packaging promised.
3. A book published in 2018
7. A book written by a female author.
12. A book set somewhere you’ve never been (Sweden).
17. A book of short stories.
18. A book you can finish in one day.
20. A book translated from (or in) another language.
24. A book by an author whom you’ve never read.