When you are 79 and life is getting perilously short, boredom is surely a crime… so why not get out there and beat the real crooks at their own game?
Meet Martha Andersson, the pensioner from Stockholm who escaped the less-than-comfy cushions of her dreary care home’s armchair to give the legendary Robin Hood a run for his ill-gotten gains.
Martha and her band of merry marauders – otherwise known as the League of Pensioners – are on their second outrageous adventure, this time amidst the bright lights of Las Vegas, and their mission continues… to rob the rich and give to the poor (themselves included!).
The septuagenarian thieves’ hilarious mayhem, madness and misappropriation of other people’s money and property come courtesy of their fun-loving and imaginative creator Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg.
The popular Swedish author has written seventeen books in several genres but the first book in this warm and witty crime caper series, The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules, was the first to be published in English.
Using her individual writing style, natural feel for comedy and a refreshing insight into the frustrations of ageing, Ingelman-Sundberg’s stories featuring the antics of feisty Martha and her pensioner pals are proving to be an international hit.
After fleeing Sweden with a stash of cash from a daring robbery, Martha and her four crooked cohorts are keeping a low profile at the rather grand Orleans Hotel and Casino in the smartest quarter of Las Vegas.
But, as Martha says, Vegas is a town for adventurers, ‘the place where anything and everything could happen’ – and of course it does, and in the most unexpected way.
On almost their first outing from the confines of the hotel, and armed only with their trusty sticks and Zimmers, the fearless felons become accidentally tangled up with a gang of diamond robbers and are left holding the loot.
Either they take the stolen sparklers to the police, or donate them to their own Robbery Fund which is always in need of extra income. It’s a no brainer… a diamond haul isn’t nearly enough to pay for long-term geriatric care so they keep the jewels and the grand plan to rob a casino swings into action.
Using ingenious tactics, a pair of false teeth and a wheelchair each, they plot to outwit a sophisticated security system, armed guards, CCTV and carry out their last but necessary coup before departing America.
But a ruthless gang is on the hunt for them and when Martha and her friends head back to Sweden to continue their money-making schemes, danger is never far behind.
Prepare to laugh out loud as the misbehaving and occasionally forgetful Martha and her long-suffering cronies surmount a series of priceless pitfalls and fearsome foes, and make themselves as unforgettable in Vegas as they were in Stockholm.
Written with warmth, wit and comic mastery, this is the perfect lesson in how to grow old disgracefully…
(Pan, paperback, £7.99)