Tuesday, October 5, 2021


Having lived in Sweden for a while, I'm always happy to read books by Swedish authors that transport me back to that beautiful country.  A few years ago we met Maud in An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, where she played a forgetful old lady when the authorities were sniffing around, but showed herself to be shrewd and calculating when on her own.  In this follow-up, An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed, Maud is back solving Problems in her own unique and permanent fashion.

In the previous book, a dead body had been found in one of the rooms in Maud's large apartment that she rarely ever entered.  Even though she's nearly 89, she travels a lot and it was unfortunate that a burglar had broken in with an accomplice and ended up murdered (presumably by the absent accomplice) and lain dead in her apartment for many days while she was out traveling.  The police do try to get to the bottom of what happened, but poor Maud is extremely hard of hearing and confused (when they are around, anyway), so they don't get much information out of her.

Now Maud is preparing for a luxury safari trip to South Africa, but before she can leave, the police show up with more questions about the death.  Maud is still not able to follow their questions or provide any information, so they leave in frustration and she is able to leave on her trip.  While on the plane during the long flight, Maud remembers several other occasions in her life when she had to take care of Problems that cropped up in her life: a dependent sister, a co-worker in the way of advancement, a neighbor's entitled son.  How Maud deals with these Problems and her complete lack of any sort of remorse is eye-opening, to say the least.

Once Maud gets to South Africa, she finds her frail little-old-lady act useful in getting out of tours and events that she doesn't want to attend.  As always, she has her own agenda.  Unfortunately, some Problems crop up on her vacation as well . . .

As with the previous book, I felt a bit misled by the cutesy title and cover of the book.  It would suggest that this book is about a feisty old lady getting into amusing scrapes.  That is not at all what goes on.  Maud is surely a sociopath, taking care of Problems in very well-reasoned ways that leave her unsuspected.  The portion of the book where she is in South Africa is also somewhat puzzling -- it goes into minute detail about what Maud saw, ate, and thought on the trip, the stores she visited, etc.  It was almost as if the author was using her own travel diaries to construct the story.  I wonder if this particular book might also get some backlash for the "white savior" actions taken by Maud in South Africa.  The story was interesting enough and is a quick read, but it is just not what I thought it would be. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed from NetGalley in exchange for this review


About Me

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

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