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The plot of this Edgar Award winning novel by one of Britain's hottest mystery writers is awfully familiar, but in Minette Walters capable hands it's still creepy, interesting and very readable.  Rosalind Leigh is commissioned to write a book about Olive Martin, an obese young woman, known as The Sculptress after hacking up her mother and sister with an ax and rearranging the pieces.  Now all she carves is little wax figurines in her prison cell, including one of Rosalind after their first interview.  At this and subsequent interviews, Olive convinces Rosalind that she did not actually commit the crime, this in spite of her own confession and a mountain of evidence.  Of course, as Rosalind starts to dig into the facts of the case, she finds herself in mounting danger.

It all sounds painfully standard I know, but it made for a very good BBC adaptation which was shown here on PBS and the book is terrific too.  As always in these things, Olive is the most interesting character in the book, but her relationship with Rosalind is especially well done and there are enough surprises to offset the somewhat formulaic basic plot.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (C+)

  

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See also:

Mystery
Book-related and General Links:
    -Author Profile  Minette Walters (Allen-Unwin)
    -Best of Britain: Minette Walters
    -Minette Walters (Stop You're Killing Me)
    -Minette Walters (Crosswinds)
    -ARTICLE: Edgar Awards 1994 (NY Times)
    -PROFILE : Why's a nice woman like you writing about ... ? Crime novelist Minette Walters makes no apology for writing about unpleasant people (Jamie Portman, National Post)
    -REVIEW: of The Sculptress by Minette Walters (Marilyn Stasio , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of THE SCOLD'S BRIDLE By Minette Walters (1995)(Patrick McGrath, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Echo (1997)(Marilyn Stasio , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Breaker (1999) (Marilyn Stasio , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Dark Room (1996)(Marilyn Stasio , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Ice House (1994)(Marilyn Stasio , NY Times Book Review)

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