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The Breaker
Minette Walters
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The Breaker

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,774 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
Twelve hours after Kate Sumner’s broken body is washed up on a deserted beach on the south coast of England, her traumatized three-year-old daughter is discovered twenty miles away walking the streets of Poole, alone. The police are puzzled.

Why weren’t mother and daughter together? Why was Kate killed and her daughter allowed to live? More curiously, why had Kate boarded a
CD-ROM, 0 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
woman washes up on beach
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!!
Jul 17, 2016 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generally I really enjoy Minette Walters' books and this was no exception. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters. Although I felt that I knew 'who done it' early on, this didn't take away from the novel. Much of the book dealt with the why, and then later the how, rather than lots of plot twists and turns. Overall, a really enjoyable read.
Mar 01, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I was awaiting this book so eagerly, and it didn't let me down. Her characters are so interesting, so human. And I love the little extras she provides - maps, copies of reports, etc. I never did figure out who-dun-it, and it felt almost like she flipped a coin at the end, and said, okay, it's him, then.
Jul 25, 2014 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow I missed this relatively early book by one of my favorite writers of psychological mysteries. Her characters and their relationships were revealed layer by layer with several revelations focusing suspicion first on one person and then another. Skillful plotting and knowledge of police procedures.
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
Aug 26, 2016 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Tonks
An early Walters (1998) that I hadn't read. It uses structure rather than psychology to drive the drama but it is still an effective thriller where the outcome is still a suprise. Plus the version I read had a bonus short story that was worth a read too - The Tinder Box.
Margaret Unger
Nov 08, 2015 Margaret Unger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beginning started off so cheesy and cliché that I very nearly decided to skip it, but forced myself to continue, finding, to my surprise, that I quite started to enjoy it. It turned out to be a good mystery that kept me thinking, with interesting characters and their development, and the slow peeling-away to the truth in typical detective novel fashion.
Arti Honrao
Jul 05, 2015 Arti Honrao rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliantly written. I took my time to finish the book but towards the end I could not keep the book down until I was too tired to continue reading.

The first paragraph in the synopsis is a confusing for me though, as to why it is written in first person.

Sep 07, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hey! Who knew, another great little mystery from Minette Walters. A woman's body washes up in a small Dorset cove. Was it the husband, the sexy actor, the best friend or someone else. Good read and lots twists without loosing sight of the main plot.
I enjoyed this book. It is a basic crime story set in an English coastal town. I like the way the characters developed as well as the investigative part of the story. Overall I would recommend to anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie type stories.
Dawn Vanstone
Jun 27, 2016 Dawn Vanstone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wouldn't be my normal style of book to read but I chose it because it is loosely based around the area I grew up in. I did enjoy it and although it was a bit cheesy in parts the story was good and kept me guessing right until the end, having thrown a few curve balls along the way. I enjoyed the writer's style and sense of humour.
Mar 07, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murder mystery takes place in south coast of England. What I thought interesting about this one is that there wasn't a large pool of suspects like a lot of mysteries. So it was more a psychological thriller where the police detectives are playing cat and mouse with the one suspect. Good back and forth dialogue during the interrogations.
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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
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