An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed is the second collection of short fiction from Helene Tursten featuring Maud, an octogenarian killer who is not to be underestimated. Originally released in Swedish in 2020, this English translation released 5th Oct 2021 from Soho Press on their Crime imprint. It's 272 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
This is such a deliciously dark and enchanting collection of stories about a deceptively innocuous little old lady and her encounters throughout her life with the unsavory people who (in Maud's opinion) richly deserved their fates. The stories are tied together with the original tale segueing into the following stories which are told through flashbacks.
The writing is unvarnished and direct, disarmingly simple, and always there's Maud, thinking (and doing) what most people have probably at least thought about at some point in the deepest darkest recesses of their minds.
The translation work by Marlaine Delargy is seamless and although the scansion and rhythm of the text is a bit choppier than usual for English original prose, the simple way the stories are told suits the directness and short sentence structure very well.
The unabridged audiobook has a run time of 4 hours and 52 minutes
and is expertly narrated by Ann Richardson. She does a good job with the
individual character voices. Sound quality and production values are high throughout.One thing of note for English speaking readers, most character and place names are pronounced as they are in the original Swedish, so Charlotte is read as "where-lot" and Johanneberg sounds like "yohanneberg". It doesn't take long to get used to the pronunciation - it's just with places and people, mostly.
Four stars for both the print and audiobook versions.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes