A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, November 5, 2021

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- An Elderly Lady Up to No Good by Helene Tursten-Translated by Marlaine Delargy Feature and Review


Maud is an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and…no qualms about a little murder. This funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten, author of the Irene Huss investigations, features two-never-before translated stories that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.

Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. That was how Maud learned that good things can come from tragedy. Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, but she likes it that way.

Over the course of her adventures—or misadventures—this little bold lady will handle a crisis with a local celebrity who has her eyes on Maud’s apartment, foil the engagement of her long-ago lover, and dispose of some pesky neighbors. But when the local authorities are called to investigate a murder in her apartment complex, will Maud be able to avoid suspicion, or will Detective Inspector Irene Huss see through her charade?




An Elderly Lady Is Up to No GoodAn Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy (Translator) is a 2018 SOHO Crime publication.

Well, if you’ve had your fill of gooey, saccharine sweet holiday books or movies, then this collection of vignettes featuring Maud, an eighty-eight year old serial killer, will cure your holiday sugar rush.

To be completely honest, I didn’t do much homework when I borrowed this book from the library. One of my fine friends on Goodreads added this book to their TBR list and I thought it sounded like a cozy mystery, and the cover didn’t do a lot to dispel that theory, although the title should have given me pause. However, I was taken by surprise when it became blatantly obvious that Maud isn’t one of those nosy, but endearing amateur sleuths.

Nope, our Maud is a calculating killer, who slides under the radar of law enforcement with chilling regularity, until a certain Inspector comes along who might see through Maud’s innocent old lady persona. Will she beat the rap or has her luck finally run out?

“ Freedom, no idle chatter, and no problems. Idle chatter and problems were the worst things she could think of…”

This collection of vignettes/short stories had me in stitches. It is, of course, darkly humorous, but also very clever. ‘An Elderly Lady Seeks Peace at Christmas’, was the first short story the author wrote, featuring Maud, but it was just the beginning of Maud’s various travels and interventions.

Part of the fun is in the details. Maud thinks fast, makes unhesitant decisions, without raising any suspicions. Of course, these scenarios are highly implausible, but wickedly fun, all the same. The reader is given access to Maud’s inner thoughts and once more I am struck by how utterly fascinating it is to crawl inside the mind of a killer. One of the most effective aspects of these stories is waiting to see if Maude will make a mistake, if she will be found out or not, while simultaneously hoping to never find oneself in the crosshairs of a mad elderly woman!!





Helene Tursten (born in Gothenburg in 1954) is a Swedish writer of crime fiction. The main character in her stories is Detective Inspector Irene Huss. Before becoming an author, Tursten worked as a nurse and then a dentist, but was forced to leave due to illness. During her illness she worked as a translator of medical articles.


Marlaine Delargy is based in the UK. She has translated novels by Swedish writers including ├ůsa Larsson, Ninni Holmqvist and Johan Theorin--with whom she won the CWA International Dagger 2010 for The Darkest Room.

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