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The Sculptress Mass Market Paperback – Oct 1994

24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Mass Market Paper; Reissue edition (October 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312953615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312953614
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.2 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,393,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Convicted of the brutal ax murders of her mother and sister, Olive Martin spends her days in prison carving tiny human figures out of wax. Rosalind Leigh is a best-selling author whose publisher jolts her out of writer's block by telling her to research a book about Olive and the murders, or else. Though repelled by the idea at first, Rosalind soon becomes intrigued by her subject and begins to believe she may be innocent. She soon uncovers plenty of reasons to doubt the official police version of the killings and with Olive's help, untangles a sinister cover-up. The Sculptress won the 1994 Edgar Award for best mystery novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This Edgar Award-winning mystery turns on the relationship between a troubled journalist and a woman convicted of a gruesome murder.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judith Lindenau on Dec 13 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Other reviews here have summarized the plot...suffice it to say the plot is simple, and the characters are complex. That's what makes this novel so compelling: it's populated by real people, albeit not always very nice ones, and these people are making their way in a world which is not friendly to them. There's a layer of philosophy here too: organized religion, mysticism, and the occult all come into play as the story unfolds. It's a satisfyingly deep and well-written book, and I recommend it highly.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an intriguing, well written mystery which garnered the 1994 Edgar Award for best novel of the year for British writer, Minette Walters, who has written quite a number of excellent books. She is a writer in the tradition of that other great British novelist, Ruth Rendell, known also as Barbara Vine. The comparison by those who are familiar with the works of both Ms. Walters and Ms. Rendell is inescapable.
This book revolves around two main stories that become by necessity intertwined. One is that of a morbidly obese, young woman, Olive Martin, who is imprisoned for the brutal and grisly murders of her mother, Gwen, and beautiful, younger sister, Amber, whose butchered bodies shocked even the most jaded of folks. On the eve of trial, Olive made a full confession to the crime and received a prison sentence of not less than twenty-five years for her butchery. Known in prison as "The Sculptress", she passes the time making miniature, carved, wax images, a delicate and sensitive pastime for one with a reputation for such primal savagery.
Enter Rosalind "Roz" Leigh, a thirties something author suffering from writer's block, who accepts a commission to write about the Olive Martin case. After meeting Olive, she becomes intrigued by her, finding her to be other than what she had expected, and a symbiotic relationship develops between the two. As she delves into the facts of the murder case, and as her interviews with Olive reveal, all is not quite what it seems. The more that Roz sorts through the facts and the more people that she interviews who were in some way associated with the Martin family, the more she becomes convinced that a miscarriage of justice has occurred and that the wrong person is paying a horrific price for the grisly murders of Gwen and Amber.
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By Orrin C. Judd on Oct. 13 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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By A. Kelly on Aug. 8 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As I read all the glowing praise for Walters and her finely crafted mysteries, I have to say, I don't get it. I think she's a terrible writer. I read The Scold's Bridle when it first came out and didn't agree with the praise it had earned. But when casting about the other day for a modern mystery, I thought I'd give Walters another try with The Sculptress. It was even worse than The Scold's Bridle. The plot twists are so transparently engineered, and you could drive a truck through some of the holes. At the end, when the tension should be building, the exposition becomes confusing and story oddly boring. Throughout, her main characters are shallow, yet instantly dislikable, and their behavior is just bizarre (and I'm talking about the non-criminals). Even when she's trying to show tough tenderness between characters, it comes off more like really bad romance novel relationship, mixing violence and sexual interest in a very unpleasant way. To top it off, the dialogue is stilted and, quite often, completely uninteresting. I see very little intelligence, inventiveness, or skill here; Walters can't hold a candle to Ruth Rendell.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an intriguing story about Olive Martin, who is in prison for murdering and cutting up the bodies of her mother Gwen and her sister Amber. Enter Roz, an author who is not really interested in writing any longer. Her publisher gives her an ultimatum and an assignment to write a book about Olive and the murders. She reluctantly agrees and once she sinks her teeth into this task, she is no longer convinced that Olive really committed the murders that she has confessed to. Walters' portrayal of Olive as an obese, unkempt woman adds to the story as she allows the reader to want to believe that Olive is in fact the murderer, while at the same time, the story that Roz is unraveling could perhaps tell us otherwise.
This book won the 1994 Edgar Award for best mystery novel and it is no surprise why. The real surprise is how deft Minette Walters is at making this gruesome story come alive. It is filled with darkness, tension and sensitivity to the protagonist. Can Minette Walters write a bad book -- I don't think so. She's obviously a master of her craft.
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