(Kuolema Ehtoolehdossa – Death in Twilight Grove, 2013) Meet Siiri and Irma, best friends and the queen bees of Sunset Grove, a retirement community for those still young at heart. With a combined age of nearly 180, Siiri and Irma are still just as inquisitive and witty as when they first met decades ago. But when their comfortable world is upturned by a suspicious death at Sunset Grove, Siiri and Irma are shocked into doing something about it. Determined to find out exactly what happened and why, they begin their own private investigations and form The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency.
(Ehtoolehdon pakolaiset – Escape from Twilight Grove, 2014) It’s not easy sharing a flat. Especially when you’re 95 years old. Change is afoot at Sunset Grove retirement home, and its residents aren’t impressed. Under threat from falling masonry, best friends Irma and Siiri are forced out of their home to negotiate twenty-first-century living in the centre of Helsinki. Their new surroundings throw up an endless number of daily challenges, from caring for the ailing Anna-Lisa to the mystery of which of the many remotes controls the TV.
Irma and Siri return to Sunset Grove only to discover things have changed in their absence – and not for the better. New management promises spiritual enlightenment in return for donations from its residents. And all of the staff seem to have disappeared, replaced by so-called ‘smart’ technology that remotely takes care of all of their needs. If only it worked!
Referred to as the Finnish Miss Marple, these books are written by Minna-Liisa Gabriela Lindgren a Finnish writer and journalist.
Born on January 22, 1963 in Helsinki, Lindgren has worked as a journalist and columnist and has written about classical music. Her novels are best-sellers in Finland. Her Lavender Ladies are known for central characters that are both funny and endearing and an interesting detective duo. Minna was inspired to write The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency after researching the treatment of the elderly in Finland for a magazine article. The article won the 2009 Bonnier Journalism Prize, considered the highest journalism honor in Finland.
In an interview Minna said:
I have always loved old people. I remember how the oldest in the family were my favourites as a child. I guess it is the free spirit and capricious sense of humour that inspires me and was fascinating for a child, too. The way we talk about old people in the media is opposite to what I have experienced – there are only problems and only big problems around senior citizens. I wanted to tell people how exciting it can be to live a long life – for isn’t it, after all, something we all wish? At the same time I was able to write a satire of the modern society which has always been my favourite genre. Everything turns out a little funny when you look at it through the eyes of a 95 years old lady.
You can hear the beginning of the first book here: