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The Sculptress

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  5,683 ratings  ·  175 reviews

Everyone knows Olive Martin, the huge and menacing woman who was found five years ago with the carved-up bodies of her mother and younger sister. Everyone knows how she pleaded guilty to murder at her trial. And everyone knows not to anger the Sculptress even now that she is safely locked in prison for a minimum of twenty-five years.

When Rosalind Leigh accepts a commission

...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark
A chilling story from a master of the crime/suspense genre. A monstrously obese woman is in prison having confessed and pled guilty to the murder and brutal dismembering of her mother and younger sister some years previously. A writer, who is dealing with emotional damages of her own, is assigned by her publisher to write a book about the affair. She uncovers several discrepancies between the confession and the facts in the case which lead her to dig ever deeper until she finally reveals the tru...more
Hannah Renowden
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Frances
I don't care what anyone thinks, I LOVE this author's work! Disturbing, yup. Gory, yup. Dark, dark, dark! Does this mean I'm mentally sick, probably, but I don't mind because this woman knows her ____! Could not put this book down! Thought about it for days afterwards! That my friend are the signs of a great book.
leslye
This is an okay book if you can ignore it's occasional far-fetchedness! Convoluted, improbable plot. Unlikely characters doing unlikely things in unlikely circumstances.

Rosalind Leigh is commissioned to write a book about Olive Martin, an obese woman known as The Sculptress, after hacking up her mother and sister with an ax and rearranging the pieces. Now she carves little wax figurines in her prison cell, including one of Rosalind after their first interview. Olive convinces Rosalind that she...more
Nikki
Out of 50+ winners of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, I had only read 13 before beginning my challenge to myself to read all of them. The Sculptress was one of them. I had read the first three or four of Walters' novels, and then stopped keeping up with them for some reason or no reason. I may have to rethink that decision.

Walters' books are characterized as psychological thrillers, and they certainly do have many of the traits of that subgenre. Unlike some, though, Walters has said that there...more
Aniko Carmean
Five psychiatrists have pronounced Olive Martin in full possession of her sanity. She is not a psychopath, despite dismembering her mother and sister like parting a chicken for Sunday dinner. Although the police ensured Olive's solicitor was present when she gave her confession, both society and justice were quick to accept Olive's guilty plea. It turns out that no one looks too closely or thinks to hard about a morbidly obese, hideously ugly woman who has professed her own guilt - not even when...more
Jean Brodahl
One of the scariest, psychologically speaking, books I've ever read. Yes, as you know, I don't read scary books...well, I don't read "horror". I think this book was probably recommended to me, OR PBS had a mini-series and I heard about it that way. It's been years since I read it but I remember not being able to put it down. I will not, however, watch the movie. WAY too scary.

From Google Books: Everyone knows about Olive Martin, the huge and menacing woman who was found five years ago with the...more
Robert Beveridge
Minette Walters, The Sculptress (St. Martin's, 1993)
[originally posted 19Sep2000]

Back when I was reading The Breaker, I noticed that a lot of reviews of it compared it quite unfavorably to Walters' other novels. I still consider those reviews somewhat wrongheaded, but now I realize it's not because people didn't realize The Breaker was any good; it's because people were seeing the same kinds of plot devices as Walters has used int he past, but Walters is now getting too subtle for the average my...more
Michael
When you read a lot of books, it can sometimes be difficult to recall which books you've read and which you haven't. At least that's the case in the time before social networking sites for books. (How did we ever survive?!?)

That's what happened with "The Sculptress." I'd thought I'd read it before based on the novel's description and the opening chapters felt vaguely familiar. But for some odd reason I couldn't recall the twists, turns and the solution to the mystery at the center of the book. (...more
Ubik 2.0
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Ashley
One of the best mystery novels I've read! If you want a richly complex mystery novel for summer beach reading, I would recommend this book. Minette Walters is a British mystery novelist who has made quite a name for herself. In this novel, Rosalind Lee (Roz) has been advised by her publisher to write a book on a convicted murderer, Olive Martin, or be dropped. Roz has her own tragic past that has kept her from being super productive and decides to give it a go. After her first meeting with Olive...more
Maria
This book is a Crime Choice of the Year awardee, and well deserved!

It has a very intricate plot but you won't be confused with the story.

The character of the sculptress is very real. Sometimes i hate her. But there are times i took pity on her. Her character evolved so beautifully from the first page up to the last one.

the author is a superb storyteller. this is the second book i read from her (first one is The Shape of Snakes) and i must say that only in this book did she make a fan out of me....more
Marielle
I have not read as many Minette Walters novels as I should. I am reminded of this whenever I start one. This novel is surely one of the best of its genre - a fascinating psychological crime thriller.
It is very much of its time, the 90s realism of criminal psychology, full-bodied characters, sub-texts and twists.
Walters gets the characters so correct, so believable, that one almost wonders if she is not a bit of a close psychopath herself. Her understanding of the human condition, and of the se...more
Amanda Patterson
There are some authors who have embraced their dark sides. In fact they've embraced humanity's shadow, looked it in the eye and dissected it.
Olive Martin is a grotesquely obese woman who has been imprisoned for murdering, and dismembering the bodies of, her mother and sister.
Rosalind Leigh is a best-selling author who has been asked to write Olive's story.
Rosalind is dealing with her own problems, but she realises that there are discrepancies between the facts of the murders and Olive's confes...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Sculptress, by Minette Walters, a-minus, Narrated by Sandra Burr, Produced by Brilliance Audio, downloaded from audible.com.

This is a book that has been in my library for a long time that I just now read. It’s a wonderful book-in some ways not as dark as many of Walters’ books. Publisher’s note says it as well as I could.
Everyone knows Olive Martin, the huge and menacing woman who was found five years ago with the carved-up bodies of her mother and younger sister. Everyone
knows how she plead...more
Jane
This mystery is riveting to the end. I literally could not put it down until I read the last page. Along with the satisfying mystery, the characters' development and the depth of their personalities made this a total winner. This is only my second Minette Walters novel, and I can't wait to read more!
Adithyajones
A great mystery with depth in characterization and with enough twists and turns to keep you on edge of the seat.I loved Walter's writing and loved the ending where enough clues were left out to keep the readers guessing what really happened and the possibility of an alternate ending..
Kaethe
Walters is amazing at setting the reader up to think one thing, then switching it all around to show you something else entirely. And from then on, you're pretty much screwed and will never be able to decide what's really gone on. I love that.
Maryll
Fantastic! I can't wait to check out her other books because this was one of the best mystery/thrillers I've read. Its great strength is its depiction of the psychological ambiguities that reside in all of us.
Tegan
I was requires to read this book in high school for English class. I loved the book and have been reading Minette Walters' books ever since. I consider her to be one of my favourite authors.
Annika
Really scary book. In a way like a train accident when you are transfixed on a spot, not able to move, but wanting to help, feeling ashamed to watch but not beeing able to look away...
CYNTHIA
Very eerie. Shows how an individuals perception of self worth can color their entire life.
Ana
Very good suspense.. well written , it was difficult to put down after the first chapters...
Gabriella
After the epilogue, I had to go back and re-read some. This book was good to the last sentence!
Michele
Did she or didn't she commit the murders?
Very good thriller.
Julie
Complex, psychologically dark, repelling & fascinating!
jen8998
Intriguing psychological mystery from beginning to end.
Alice
Yay! Just what I was looking for. So dark.
Helen Gray
I am astonished that I found this book so absorbing. The prose is poor, the story is told mostly through dialogue with plenty of shrugs and sighs, Roz the main character is subjected to much violence and unpleasantness, unlikely characters do unlikely things, the plot is implausible, and the ending messy. Never-the-less, absorbing it was! It was interesting and an easy read, despite all it faults, how does the author do that?

If this is what passes for award winning in this genre though, I think...more
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Just need to ask 2 46 Jul 11, 2012 04:36PM  
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Minette Walters (born 26 September 1949) is a British mystery writer. After studying at Trevelyan College, University of Durham, she began writing in 1987 with The Ice House, which was published in 1992. She followed this with The Sculptress (1993), which received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She has been published in 35 countries and won many awards.

The Sculptress has been adapted for tel...more
More about Minette Walters...
The Ice House The Scold's Bridle The Dark Room The Shape of Snakes Acid Row

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