I recently finished a collection of stories by the Swedish author Helene Tursten called An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good. The book contains five short stories about a the life of a very elderly matron, Maud, and how she deals with people who step into her sphere. These stories got my attention with their dark humor, mystery, and insight into how other cultures look at life (and murder) in a more raw and crude manner.
The first story, An Elderly Lady Has Accommodation Problems, introduces Maud in her apartment when a young art graduate. Jasmin is seeking to take over Maud’s apartment because of its roomier size and prettier view of the skyline. When Maud gets sense of the young lady becoming too friendly, things begin to change. After multiple visits to see Maud and her dwelling, Jasmin invites Maud to come look at her apartment decorated with phalluses in multiple shapes and sizes. Read on.
In An Elderly Lady on Her Travels, Maud visits Sardinia to unwind and take care of family. While there, she reminisces about various excursions to Cairo and the South Pole. In this one story you come to understand how Maud continues to be the one family member who takes care of others before herself. She even does so through many challenges, such as taking care of her mentally ill sister.
Other tales include a tale of Christmastime in Sweden with a twist of mystery when she hears loud voices next door and learns of an “accident” to her neighbor. Maud senses there is a bigger story behind the accident than what was told and is determined to get to the real truth.
Translated from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy
– Review by Micah, St Matthews Library
Do you like reading Mysteries? Do enjoy discussing what you’ve read but can’t find anyone to discuss them with? Then come to the Mystery Book Discussion Group at the Main Library where we discuss a different mystery every month.
We meet on the third Tuesday of the month from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the Boardroom on the second floor of the North Building.
Dates and selections for the first six months of 2019 are:
What would you do if you discovered a skull while working in your garden? Well, that’s what happens to Julie Hamill in The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen. Finding that skull causes a whole of drama for Julie when the forensic team finds the rest of the skeleton. But there’s good news the skeleton according to the forensic anthropologist has been there for at least two hundred years; meaning Julie garden and yard isn’t a crime scene. However, this discovery leads Julie on a quest to find a relative of the previous owner. Once she meets him she gets sucked into trying to solve a two-hundred-year-old mystery surrounding her house and the family of the previous owner.
What Julie discovers leads her to another mystery in 1830’s Boston, this time a series of murders. When Irish immigrant Rose Connolly witnesses a murder not realizing that it is tied to her own sister’s death in childbirth. That seems eerily like Jack the Ripper has crossed the Atlantic. A group of medical students including Oliver Wendell Holmes and the fictional Norris Marshall realizes that Rose could be the next victim, Norris does everything he can to protect her. After “meeting” Rose Julie is determined to find out what happened to her as well as solving the mystery of the skeleton in the garden.
Tess Gerritsen does an awesome balancing both mysteries the murders in the 1830’s and the mystery of the skeleton and the house in the present. Each mystery is given the right amount of book time, and unlike other novels, with dual time periods, The Bone Garden doesn’t switch time periods with every chapter. They switch when the narrative needs the switch and it just flows into the next time period. She blends the historical characters such as Oliver Wendell Holmes in with fictional characters allowing them to co-exist in a fictional mystery.
Fans of Tess’s other books – as well as fans of the history, science, and mysteries in general – will enjoy this tale.
Formats Available: Regular Type, Large Type, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
Reviewed by Carissa, Main Library