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The Sculptress

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,261 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews
Everyone knows about 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 journalist Rosalind Leigh ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 15th 1994 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 09, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Sep 16, 2014 leslye rated it it was ok
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
Hannah Renowden
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2012 Frances rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Asghar Abbas
Jul 15, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


If this book doesn't frighten you, then you don't know that many monsters who just happens to be humans.
JoAnne Pulcino


Minette Walters

A very dear friend wanted to share one of her favorite books with me and I couldn't be more pleased to be sharing it with you! A journalist has been assigned to write a book about the woman named the Sculptress. She was found with her mother and sister dead in her arms and pled guilty to the murders. There's a lot more to the story and I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Thank you Alice!! You're the best!!
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
Aniko Carmean
Dec 31, 2012 Aniko Carmean rated it really liked it
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
Mar 27, 2009 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 23, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2010
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. (
Ubik 2.0
Nov 23, 2012 Ubik 2.0 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2008 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
May 16, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up a couple books by this author some time ago, based entirely on her name (my sister-in-law is also named Minette, and she is the only other one I know). I didn't originally expect to become attached to these characters or this book, but I finished reading it at 2 in the morning and realized I had basically not put it down most of the day. The mystery aspect is well done -- did Olive Martin really hack her mother and sister to death? Did she have a lover? Was she framed? Why did she co ...more
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.
Jun 13, 2011 Marielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda Patterson
Aug 21, 2011 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 07, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ewwww creepy from the get-go, this is a great summertime, vaca read! I especially loved the ending, which is what I hated about another Minette Walters book, Scold's Bridle. Great mystery!
Camille Thompson
Jan 01, 2015 Camille Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good crime novel. Fed my need for a whodunit after Serial ended.
Highly recommended. Set in England, Olive Martin confessed to the murder of her mother and her sister and is serving her sentence in prison. Author Roz Leigh is told by her publisher to write a book about the woman. She interviews her and as many people as she can who knew Olive. Roz realizes something is off. Stories don’t jibe. Roz begins to suspect that Olive is innocent. But why did she confess?

The title comes from the display of the bits of the bodies which looked like some abstract paintin
Linda Lipko
Jan 28, 2015 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a remarkable book. This is a book to read as Halloween approaches.

Containing many twists and turns, some very gruesome descriptions and a host of wicked characters, this doesn't disappoint.

Horribly obese, Olive sits in jail after she confessed to the killing and dismemberment of her mother and sister. Calmly calling the police, she greeted them at the door in blood stained attire. Police vomited when they witnessed the gruesomeness of the deadly deed.

Enter Rox, an author whose publisher wil
Kathleen Hagen
The Sculptress, by Minette Walters, a-minus, Narrated by Sandra Burr, Produced by Brilliance Audio, downloaded from

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
Bob Mchugh
Jan 04, 2016 Bob Mchugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Depending on your tolerance for some cliches of the mystery/thriller genre, this book is probably a 3,4, or a 5. It's by far one of the better pure mystery thrillers I've read, while still suffering from many of the same flaws that make many of those books pretty terrible.

This is my first Minette Walters book and I was immediately impressed at her writing, which is a clear notch above many of the stalwarts in the genre.

But still, there are some staples of the genre that don't hold up well and se
Apr 20, 2015 Mahita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed feelings. Quite an interesting story of crime, with a flat ending, was what I felt. Olive Martin is not likeable and when she hacks her mother and sister and confesses to the crime, there is not a prayer in the world that could help her get away with it. Rosalind Leigh is an author on the threat of being fired by her publisher, who is forced to write Olive's story. While the spark intuitive to any story teller is no longer in Rosalind, she manages to get an appointment with Olive to get he ...more
May 03, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, favorites
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!
Aug 20, 2011 Adithyajones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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..
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.
Mar 16, 2011 Maryll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 26, 2011 Tegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 08, 2011 Annika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-novels
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...
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Just need to ask 2 50 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 about Minette Walters...

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