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The Breaker

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  2,797 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
When Kate Sumner's corpse is discovered naked, bruised, prone and violated on the rocks of a sleepy South Coast town by two curious young boys, and her tiny, traumatised daughter is found wandering alone several miles away, police are instinctively drawn to two suspects. William Sumner, Kate's husband, and Steven Harding, a handsome would-be actor, find themselves at the c ...more
Hardcover, 356 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by MacMillan Publishing Company
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(showing 1-30 of 2,797)
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Oct 24, 2008 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Superb character development whish is why Minette Walters' psychological thrillers are so effective. One by one, you are convinced of each character's guilt, then one by one gives you clues to prove they couldn't have been the ones who did it.
Dec 07, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A terrific mystery that kept one guessing right up to the end. A young woman's nude body washes up on shore on a rough section of English coast. She had been drugged and raped, and her fingers are broken. Is it the pretty boy actor who at first claims not to know her but told others of his affair with her and just happened to be in the immediate vicinity when her body was found? Or is it the husband who seems strangely detached from the proceedings and their possibly autistic daughter, and whose ...more
Aug 22, 2009 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Walters writes novels of psychological intensity where the most fascinating element is the characterization and the effect of circumstance. This novel, an investigation into a myserious death is a vivid portrait of a couple at the centre of the investigation and the way their flaws play out. Fascinating.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 29, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At its heart, this is a classic whodunnit with a small pool of suspects. The genius of Walters is how she keeps peeling away the veneers of the characters to expose layer upon layer of pyschological fungi that Agatha Christie may have dreamed about but certainly couldn't write about. The twists, turns and surprises are completely believable as are the characters. I am again impressed with how Walters can weave so many story lines together without slowing down her plot and wrap them all up to a s ...more
May 07, 2011 Maneden rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No-one
A typical whodunnit. The killer is given away in the first few chapters and the rest of the novel is dedicated to try to sway the reader away from this fact just to announce at the end that it is in fact the person the reader believed to be guilty in the first place. It was not a very gripping read and there are too many characters with no actual place in the novel other than to confuse who is who. There is mention of some characters who have absolutely nothing to do with any of it, almost as th ...more
Mar 04, 2011 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, mystery
At the heart of this story is a complex riddle--who killed the naked young woman found washed up on the south shore of England? On the case is Nick Ingram, local constable, and John Galbraith, inspector. Their lives as well as the lives of the suspects in the case are delved into and the reader (or listener) is kept guessing as to how the complex relational tableau is going to play out. Since the suspense relies more on the interplay of the characters and the underlying secrets of them it can ta ...more

I bought this book because it was very cheap and I had never read anything from Minette Walters before. I'm always looking for new (for me new) good writers.

Two boys find the body of a young woman on a beach. Her tree-year-old child is found in a nearby village. The police start to investigate the woman's death.

I actually was disappointed. It wasn't what I expected it to be. I thought that the story was almost boring and I was actually just waiting on a better part, but I couldn't
Ishmael Seaward
May 01, 2011 Ishmael Seaward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was pretty good, actually much better written than most mystery novels. The reader gets maps and pictures of the locale, a decent introduction to the characters, and considerable shuffling back and forth between who is the likely murderer. None of the suspects are particularly likeable (most are pond scum), their girlfriends are dimwits who deserve better but don't know how to do better, and the person who actually figures it out isn't the on-the-scene copper.
But the descriptions an
Aug 05, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have found the thing with Minetter Walters' work is you never quite know what you are going to get. I've now read several of her books and each one had been different: from high energy crime on a council estate; dark tales of small village intrigue; to stories of a reporter roaming the world out of her depth; and now a seaside resort , murder, rape and secret affairs. It's not a bad thing and each has been thoroughtly researched and is well written. It's just that each one has an unknow quanti ...more
Não conhecia esta autora. Foi uma fantástica surpresa. A intriga é aliciante e bem construída e, ao longo do livro, vão aparecendo laivos de humanidade surpreendentes, que tornam as personagens e as situações profundas, genuínas e credíveis. A autora conta a estória de uma forma cativante, introduzindo algumas situações divertidas, e inclui na narrativa vários relatórios, depoimentos e pareceres dos vários envolvidos, o que a torna bastante fluída. Assim, consegui passar bastantes horas seguidas ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Breaker, by Minette Walters, b-plus, Narrated by Simon Prebble, Produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

Twelve hours after Kate Sumner's
brutally murdered body washes up on the beach, her traumatized three-year-old daughter is found wandering the streets alone. At first, the prime suspect
is a young actor, obsessed with pornography. But now the local English constable has doubts about the victim's husband. Was he really out of town when
she was killed? And why does the child scr
Feb 19, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A naked women's battered body is discovered on the beach in southern England. The first few chapters reveal the characters and lives of several people who happened to be witnesses to the scene. And I was fascinated by those characters. Each witness saw something a little different, each witness had defined characters that were complex, flawed and interesting.

I honestly wanted to stop reading the book right there. It was a tour de force of writing. Just a masterful method of sowing confusion and
Apr 18, 2012 Scilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well done mystery with good characterization. A naked young woman is washed up on the shore in a deserted cove. She is found by two young boys and help soon arrives. It takes a little while to figure out who she is because her husband is away and hasn't missed her yet. Her daughter is somewhat strange and is found wandering alone near the harbor. At first a young actor who is obsessed with pornography and known to be interested in her is arrested and his friends are interviewed. Then they begin ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Gaëlle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed The Breaker; it was a page-turner for me, since as soon as I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I couldn't wait to know more about the story!

As far as the plot is concerned, it's a pretty basic crime story: a dead woman is found on a secluded beach near a peaceful English coastal town and appears to have been drugged, raped, beaten and drowned. Her baby daughter is found wandering the streets of the nearest city, alive but apparently emotionally scarred. The investigation
Mar 05, 2014 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I read this book because, once again, the marketing copy kept using the word "gothic" in its description. Note to copywriters: If you're going to call a book gothic, I expect a brooding nobleman, a vampire, someone in an attic, a castle with lots of trapdoors, a family curse, or something similar. This book is a mystery. It's well written, and I like mysteries, but it's not gothic.

Okay now that that's out of my system. This is a pretty standard British mystery, and I was sucked in pretty quickly
Jun 02, 2013 Kerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kate Sumner’s body is washed up on a deserted beach in Dorset and her traumatized three-year-old daughter is discovered twenty miles away walking the streets of Poole.

There are no shortage of suspects including the particularly strange sex obsessed Steve and Kate's loner husband whose alibi looks a bit dodgy. As the investigation continues Kate emerges as a woman with a complicated past.

This is an enjoyable whodunnit but there seem to be the usual comments on women asking to be raped judging b
Jul 23, 2013 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walters creates compelling characters in The Breakers – she’s always good at serving up the weirdos. She sets up enough red herrings to keep your interest, and the two detectives – Ingram and Galbraith – are a wonderful contrast. The way she creates a picture of the dead woman, Kate Sumner, is fascinating – a composite that grows as we hear from different witnesses to and actors in her life. However, the three male characters – Harding, Bridges, and William Sumner – have been so overloaded with ...more
Carl Brookins
Jul 25, 2013 Carl Brookins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trust Minette Walters to choose a fresh approach to crime fiction that tears the envelope. This novel comes with photographs of the crime scene, charts and a map of the surrounding community, as well as an unlabeled foreword, a prologue and some clues. Whether the clues are real or not requires reading the book. There are internal graphics as well, including the reproduction of faxes and other documents integral to the police investigation, a technique Ms. Walters has used before.

The novel begin
Sep 11, 2013 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The body of a woman is found on the beach. At the same time, her 3-year-old daughter is found wandering alone in the streets of a nearby town. The woman, Kate Sumner, was raped and strangled and had traces of a date-rape drug. Kate's husband, William Sumner, and Steven Harding, an actor who is in love with himself are the two main suspects. This story is strange but very compelling. You don't like any of the characters but you really want to find out who and why did the deed. I liked it.
Robert Beveridge
Minette Walters, The Breaker (Putnam, 1999)
[originally posted 7Jul2000]

I kept looking at the dadaesque, semi-erotic cover of the novel trying to figure out whether to pick it up or not. Finally, I decided to sink the cash and give it a shot.

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

From page one, this is no ordinary mystery. It sounds like one, if you attempt to boil it down to its component parts—a woman's body washes up on shore in a secluded cove on the south coast of England, with the two
Nov 16, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book I have read by this popular author. I became interested in her after reading her introduction to a collection of Daphne du Maurier's short stories. The connection is that both authors are masters of psychology.

The Breaker is about discovering who raped and murdered a young woman, leaving unharmed her small daughter who witnessed the crime. It is cleverly constructed, carefully developing the personalities of the characters, in the manner of getting to know them much the way it ha
Hmm..Don't know really what to say here as I was all set to love a good English mystery by a lady with my same initials AND my maiden name Walters! Yess I was excited and alas about three days ago that excitement died... this book was long and drawn out for no reason..the mystery, one you don't even care that much about was lost and a hundred and one minute details, relationships and characters were introduced and the 351 pages felt like they went on forever..Okay so actually this book was about ...more
Jun 22, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book at the back of the bookshelf, covered in dust and looking rather sad. I decided to give it a go. I am happy I made that choice. It was a great read, keeping me guessing. I had a feeling about someone from the beginning but Minette kept throwing things in to get you off target, and it worked a couple of times, making me doubt my choice. Very glad I read this one and I am off to dig deeper in the bookshelf to find another gem!!
woman washes up on beach
Asghar Abbas

Without peeking at the synopsis, I won't be able to tell much about this book. Except that I did read and liked it. Haha, it is late here, not sure why I am up; something to do with words, mine of course.

Anyway, I just can't recall what happened here, but knowing Walters like I don't know her, it must have been fair like Chaos.
Jim Angstadt
Apr 09, 2016 Jim Angstadt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Breaker
Minette Walters

This is a pleasant, engaging story that is set along the south coast of England. It reminded me of some Agatha Christy novels from decades ago in that new clues keep dribbling in, which leads to continual analysis and speculation. One soon becomes overwhelmed with partially conflicting details and is forced to begin some analysis. I especially liked the way a person would come into the spotlight as a suspect, then fade as more details emerged, only to come back into pro
Bruce Beckham
My usual rule is never to read reviews of a novel until I have written my own. In this case I have been obliged to break it, if only to reassure myself that “it’s not just me”.

I suspected from the description in the opening paragraph (of the washed-up corpse of a female rape victim) that I might struggle with this one. By the time I got to the toe-curling account of an adolescent voyeur 5 pages later I knew for certain. I battled on to page 22 (of 447) before reminding myself that I can squeeze
What drew me in this book was "Why is the toddler who watched her mother's murder alive?" It's only one little question which is almost nothing important but it was enough to sharpen my curiosity.

Well, this book created many contradictory feelings in me. It is interesting, captivating and intriguing but it's also predictable.

During all long the book, the detectives discover many different clues and they put the reader thinking about them and wondering "Why was it that way?" That way the story
Deborah Pickstone
Can't quite find what the point of the child being a bit different was. That aside this is an engaging read with some likable characters, even the sociopathically inclined one. There were also some very unlikable ones. However, the reader's response to the characters was directed by the author; we are meant to interpret them as I did.

The storyline is a little odd but it does demonstrate the extent to which some people work hard at deluding themselves and also the mentality of someone who has fai
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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 about Minette Walters...

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