A queen among battle axes

TheNameOfAWind

Senior Member
Italian
Hi everyone, I need your help.

I'm translating a novel (pretty much a crime story, but it keeps the mood light and it's very funny).

A woman (Mrs. Russell) finds her husband's mistress' body in a pool, and of course she becomes a suspect. The day after, she comes home to find the detective who's investigating the murder waiting for her in the driveway.

“Mrs. Russell.”
“Detective Jones, if we’re going to see each other more than once a day, you’re going to have to call me Ellison. Mrs. Russell was my mother-in-law." A queen among battle axes.
He grinned.


"Signora Russell".
"Detective Jones, se dobbiamo incontrarci varie volte al giorno, sarà meglio che mi chiami Ellison. La signora Russell era mia suocera". Una regina tra le asce di guerra :)confused:).
Il detective sorrise.

I can't figure out what "queen among battle axes" could mean. Is she saying that, in a tough situation, she tries to act strong?


Thank you so much :)
 
  • HalfTaff

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    In this context a battleaxe means an older and strongly opinionated woman. I would think that to be described as a queen among battleaxes means that the speaker holds a degree of admiration for her - she makes her views known very forcefully, but her views are respected.
     

    TheNameOfAWind

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Oh, thank you so much. <3

    I really don't think she actually admires her mother-in-law though...
    Could it mean that that old woman was the best at being "a strongly opinionated woman"? Or "queen" can only refer to something good, positive, etc?
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I really don't think she actually admires her mother-in-law though...
    But this sounds like it's coming from the point of view of Detective Jones. He's being ironic and funny. And he's playing with the well-known expression "A king among kings." that describes a really amazing fellow.
     

    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    But this sounds like it's coming from the point of view of Detective Jones. He's being ironic and funny. And he's playing with the well-known expression "A king among kings." that describes a really amazing fellow.
    Perhaps I don't understand what you are saying, but the sentence is not said or thought by Detective Jones: HERE "When I got home from bridge, a strange sedan was parked in the circle drive in front of our house. I pulled in behind it. The driver’s door opened and a familiar plaid-clad leg appeared. Apparently, Detective Jones had more questions. His chin jerked a greeting. “Mrs. Russell.” “Detective Johnson, if we’re going to see each other more than once a day, you’re going to have to call me Ellison. Mrs. Russell was my mother-in-law.” A queen among battle axes. He grinned. Nice eyes and a nice smile. “I don’t know if we’ll being seeing each other that often.”
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Ok, then. It's from Mrs. Russel's point of view. I see, but it's still funny, (so is "a plaid-clad leg") and it sounds very much like a back-handed compliment to her mother-in-law.
     

    TheNameOfAWind

    Senior Member
    Italian
    But this sounds like it's coming from the point of view of Detective Jones. He's being ironic and funny. And he's playing with the well-known expression "A king among kings." that describes a really amazing fellow.
    Like Mary49 said, we are in Ellison's mind :)
    It can sound ambiguous, but having read the first chapters I really don't think she's paying a compliment. Well, maybe in a way she does admire her mother-in-law, the way you can admire someone who is so mean to force you to acknowledge his talent at being mean :)
     

    MStraf

    Senior Member
    My POV (sarcasm here) is that Mrs.Russell after talking she added as a comment to herself " ... and saying that I was really sounding like a queen among the battle axes", and she was right because even the detective was amused because he grinned instead of scoffing like I would have done.
    Is it possible that there is something going on between the two of them?
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    “Detective Jones, if we’re going to see each other more than once a day, you’re going to have to call me Ellison. Mrs. Russell was my mother-in-law." A queen among battle axes.
    The fact that she wants to differentiate herself from her mother-in-law by wanting to be called Ellison and not Mrs Russell is probably an indication that she didn't particularly like her (even if she did admire her). Although it could have just been a come-on. I don't think it has any bearing on the translation, however. :)
     
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