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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on August 8, 2000
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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