An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed (Hardcover)
Don’t let her age fool you. Maud may be nearly ninety, but if you cross her, this elderly lady is more sinister than sweet.
Just when things have finally cooled down for 88-year-old Maud after the disturbing discovery of a dead body in her apartment in Gothenburg, a couple of detectives return to her doorstep. Though Maud dodges their questions with the skill of an Olympic gymnast a fifth of her age, she wonders if suspicion has fallen on her, little old lady that she is. The truth is, ever since Maud was a girl, death has seemed to follow her.
In these six interlocking stories, memories of unfortunate incidents from Maud’s past keep bubbling to the surface. Meanwhile, certain Problems in the present require immediate attention. Luckily, Maud is no stranger to taking matters into her own hands . . . even if it means she has to get a little blood on them in the process.
*Includes cookie recipes*
About the Author
Helene Tursten was a nurse and a dentist before she turned to writing. She is the author of the Irene Huss series, including Detective Inspector Huss, Night Rounds, Who Watcheth, and Protected by the Shadows; the Embla Nyström series; and the short story collection An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, which also features Maud. Her books have been translated into 25 languages and made into a television series. She was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she now lives with her husband.
Praise for An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed
An October 2021 Indie Next Selection
An ABA Indie Bestseller
The Deadly Pleasures Best of the Year List
“Ms. Tursten brings her semi-anti-hero to such plausible life that one can’t help but ruefully root for her at least part of the time. Will the good she does balance out the bad? Maud wouldn’t care one whit what you think.”
—Wall Street Journal
“. . . Cleverly plotted in five connected short stories. Each tale brings a little tension, a touch of suspense, but it’s the final story, the longest by far, that offers what could possibly be the book’s raison d’être: an explanation, some justification, a summing up that reveals 88-year-old Maud in full. Or maybe not.”
—The Toronto Star
“Very clever and highly entertaining . . . Long may Maud live.”
—Deadly Pleasures Magazine
“Just perfect for slipping easily into someone’s stocking, and an ideal time killer for that interminable wait between the gift orgy and the arrival of the blessed bird, is Scandinavian Grand Master Helene Tursten’s An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed, the follow-up to her equally adorable An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good from a few years ago. Once again, it follows the charming homicidal problem-solving of cranky elderly Maud, a retired Swedish schoolteacher with absolutely no qualms about bumping off people who get in her way . . . A pretty little hardcover decorated with seasonal and floral graphic embellishments that reek of innocence, it’s in reality a nifty how-to guide to homicide, with a tantalizing list of ways to set the world right (i.e., the way you want it), concluded with a couple of recipes for ginger snaps (in both “naughty” and “nice” versions). See? Perfect for the holidays!”
“A Swedish author did the job with this these connected short stories featuring 88-year-old Maud. Smart and full of vinegar, Maud is a murderer, but only for the best reasons . . . The author’s description of Maud acting like a dotty old lady when questioned by detectives is priceless.”
"Tursten effectively juxtaposes a cozy, Agatha Christie–like tone against the often surprisingly dark nature of Maud’s recollections, which are rife with clever satirical jabs and delicious ironies. This absorbing dive into the mind of a ruthless pragmatist posing as a Swedish Miss Marple will please psychological-thriller fans, once they realize that Maud isn't nearly as cozy as she looks."
—Booklist, Starred Review
“Maud is back! Everyone’s favorite octegenarian muderer has returned for more delightful and sinister mayhem. In six irresistible interlocking stories, Maud journeys to Africa and revisits memories of past . . . let’s call them indiscretions. Marlaine Delargy captures all that is sharp and darkly funny in Helene Tursten’s clever social satire.”
“Swedish crime novelist Tursten’s second book featuring 88-year-old Maud takes up right where An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good left off. Maud plays a doddering, senile old lady when it suits her purposes, but she’s actually in perfect health with a sharp and cunning mind—handy for plotting and getting away with murder . . . Readers may find themselves rooting for her to get away with it all and will also appreciate the bonus gingerbread recipe.”
“Swedish writer Helene Tursten introduces an innovative demon into the mystery genre, a character named Maud who is an irrepressibly astute retired old lady, with the habit of casually eliminating anyone who gets in her way or offends her moral standards . . . These stories will elicit chuckles along with reminders of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, as this unrepressed spinster pluckily follows her own decided path. A delightful, and breezy read recommended for all ages.”
—San Francisco Book Review
“A charming little stocking stuffer of a read . . . Over the course of six interlocking stories, Maud looks back on a life tinged with tragedy, disappointment, and homicide, even as she and her fellow travelers sightsee across Africa, going on safari and exploring local hot spots. The dance between the seemingly benign, amiable Maud and her inner heart of pure, evil darkness makes this an entertaining read for anyone who doesn’t mind a little mirth with their murder.”
—The Rap Sheet
“It’s murder done out in the open, often with witnesses, but author Helene Tursten’s main character is crafty; with Rube-Goldberg-esque contraptions and contrivances, there’s a different method to Maud’s madness every time and she’s deliciously, curmudgeonly gleeful about literally getting away with murder. Even better, inside the body of Tursten’s senior citizen, there’s a true and talented actress with steely nerves, a delightfully twisted mind and absolutely zero patience for fools—making this dark novel clever and very, very fun to read . . . If you’re looking for something sharply sinister, An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed must be remembered."
—The Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan
“After eighty-eight year-old Maud finds a dead body in her apartment, her life becomes a circus, especially because countless detectives with penetrating questions swarm about her, wondering if she has played any part in the mysterious death. After dodging their inquiries, Maud begins to recall her strange life—a life which has been oddly marked by death. In six interlocking stories that illuminate her past, as well as shed light on her present circumstances, we learn that no one should mess with Maud. Love it.”
“Quietly comical . . . The book’s smallish size and seasonal design make this the perfect stocking stuffer.”
“It's funny, it's dark...a great little gem of a book.”
—WAMC's The Roundtable
“She's back. Maud returns, much to this reviewer's surprise and delight . . . Even on a vacation, problems that need to be resolved find Maud, who is just the person to make things right."
—Los Angeles Public Library
“In delightfully creepy steps, Maud develops her murderous personality through this set of six revelatory narratives . . . Marlaine Delargy’s translation never gets in the way of the action in Tursten’s stories . . . a dandy holiday gift, pocket size, darkly light-hearted, and a quick and easy introduction to the tongue-in-cheek side of one of today’s leading Swedish crime novelists.”
“I'm hoping that we might hear from this little old lady at least one more time.”
“The six linked stories in Swedish author Tursten’s delightful sequel showcase the ingenious murder methods that Maud, an idiosyncratic octogenarian with questionable motives, has devised over the years . . . Assured prose matches an irresistible heroine. Readers are sure to welcome a third entry in this beguiling series.”
“A guidebook to growing old without a single regret for victims who deserved just what they got.”
Praise for An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good
An ABA IndieNext Selection
“[A] deliciously noir short story collection . . . Tursten takes readers deep inside Maud’s head as she plots the demise of anyone who crosses her . . . Here’s hoping Tursten brings back the flinty homicidal octogenarian for more adventures.”
—Tina Jordan, The New York Times
“Witty . . . All pay the ultimate price for outraging this dangerous octogenarian. Will the police ever realize that sweet, frail, confused old Maud is in fact sharp as a tack and just as ruthless?”
—The Wall Street Journal
"Eighty-eight-year-old Maud, a Swedish cult favorite, freely dispatches greedy neighbors, selfish lovers, and potential thieves in four linked stories that push elderly empowerment to grimly funny heights in this Swedish cult favorite."
—The Boston Globe
“This elderly lady stops at nothing in her desire for a peaceful existence. I ought to feel guilty for enjoying her crimes, but I don't. The stories are written with such persuasive logic and delicious irony that I want the killing to continue indefinitely.”
—Peter Lovesey, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master
“Darkly engaging . . . The murders Maud pulls off are meticulously plotted and executed, and one of the pleasures of the stories lies in watching Maud in action.”
—The Toronto Star
“The juxtaposition of the way Maud presents in the world, as elderly, somewhat frail, and what she is capable of doing when she is thwarted makes for a really intriguing read that is often laugh out loud funny.”
—Lily Bartel, WAMC's The Roundtable
“A petite, deliciously dry set of short stories . . . grab this one as a stocking-stuffer for the mystery lover on your list.”
—The News & Observer
“Deliciously dark . . . Imagine a ticked-off Miss Marple with the conscience of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley and the cold-blooded pragmatism of Jack Reacher.”
“Relying on the invisibility of age, using her walkers as a weapon, and seeming dementia as a defense, Maud systematically eliminates all annoyances . . . delightful.”
“Delightfully grim and howlingly funny . . . Maud’s no apple-cheeked little Granny.”
—Quad City Times
“Tursten is best known for the hard-boiled Detective Inspector Irene Huss series of novels. 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.”
“The perfect size for stowing in your handbag with your hard candies and spare garrote wire.”
“If you’re into crime stories, dark humor, and want it centered around an octogenarian, run to this collection.”
“Dark, irreverent, and hilariously funny.”
—Booklist, Starred Review
“Exceptional . . . Readers will be amused by how sharp-as-a-tack Maud plays the forgetful, fuzzy-brained old lady to achieve her ends.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review