This a little collection of short stories by the Danish mystery and crime writer Helene Tursten. I haven’t read any of her novels, but she’s published about 10 or so in two different series, which apparently converge here a little with the two different detectives both being small characters in these stories.
We find ourselves in a small apartment building that some seventy years ago there was a contract written where the single widowed occupant with her two young daughter would be allowed to live in the space indefinitely, rent-free, and with only a small maintenance and utilities fees paid. Now 70 years on, that means Maud, around 80 is left in the space, and feels the forces around her moving in. She becomes neighbors with a nice seeming daughter of a famous tv couple whose bohemian lifestyle belies an apparent kindness. But the kindness is short lived as its clear to Maud that she plans on taking Maud’s apartment. So Maud takes care of her.
And thus begins the rest of the stories. Someone decides they will take advantage of the sweet old lady, and she takes care of them, and eludes escape. Obviously there’s a lot here (as in a lot of mystery novels) about the ways in which older people, especially older women are invisible to the rest of the world. There’s a clear sense of ironic inversion of the the mold of Miss Marple — as in don’t discount her ability to thwart you, but in the reverse here. I would have liked it more but it was both repetitive and predictable, but still more or less enjoyable.