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The Scold's Bridle

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  7,268 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
The Ice-House won Britain's John Creasey Prize, while The Sculptress was hailed as a top crime novel of 1993 by The Los Angeles Times Book Review. Now Minette Walters returns with her third novel, in which a wealthy English woman is killed with a scold's bridle--a medieval instrument of torture.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 15th 1995 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1994)
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Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christine by: Janet personally, her fav.
4.5 stars

This is the first time I have read a book written by British author Minette Walters. I thank my friend Janet for recommending her to me. The Scold’s Bride is a beautifully penned mystery. Ms. Walters writes rich literary prose that is such a joy to find in the mystery genre. Though I have not read Ruth Rendell or P.D. James, I have seen other readers compare Ms. Walters’ style to theirs. This is high praise indeed.

The main plotline deals with whether Mathilda Gillespie, considered by m
Deborah Pickstone
Third novel by Minette Walters. Unputdownable - I consumed it voraciously in half a day. She gets better and better with every book she writes (with the exception of the short novels she wrote later which format does her style no favours). Psychological brinkmanship without ever making the reader feel queasy. Jack is the best male character I have read in a while and certainly one of my top 3 characters for this year! There was just one moment in this novel when MW almost dropped the ball - muff ...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 2.875* of five

The Book Report: Mathilda Gillespie reminds me of my female relatives: Argumentative, judgmental, unforgiving, grudge-holding, it any wonder Mathilda turns up very, very dead? She's so dead, in fact, that no one with a grain of sense could mistake her overkilling for anything but murder. Her daughter and granddaughter, lucky recipients of Mathilda's viciousness all their lives, are logically suspected of doing the old bat in so as to inherit her dragon's hoard
Mar 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime-thriller
Very silly. Convoluted ... totally unbelievable twaddle.

I have been told that her other books are better but this was my first read of hers and definitely my last.
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
We have another winner from the pen of Ms Minette Walters. I am seeing a bit of a pattern though. Like the "The Shape of Snakes" this one involved a woman doctor who befriends a woman whose nasty personality made her a very unlikeable person and who winds up dead under suspicious circumstances. In both stories the doctor is having marital difficulties that bear on the case and in both, a police detective becomes interested in the doctor and the case. But there the similarities pretty much end. D ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've read some very good novels by Walters but I haven't so much enjoyed the last two or three that I've picked up; I'm not sure if this is just me or if I've had a run of bad luck. In this instance, after a rich old woman is found murdered in her bath wearing a family heirloom, a scold's bridle, a cavalcade of her past secrets comes out, including the customary tropes of child sex abuse and incest. Meanwhile, in the present, there's gang rape, abortion, an unhappy marriage . . . It's all very s ...more
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Minette Walters is a shining star of the mystery genre. She creates intelligent, interesting and complex characters full of as much evil venom as goodness and light. The Scold's Bridle is yet another example of her boundless talent. There is plenty of darkness, I can assure you, so if you possess a weak heart for the horrific criminal nature found in mens' hearts you may want to think twice before indulging.

I found this book to be particularly thought provoking. There were so many twists and tur
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Button pushing, convuluted, annoying. I'm probably not the best person to review crime thrillers or whatever these kind of books are called. They bore me intensely.
Pretty well everyone in this book was just annoying and I spent way too much time in their company. There was a lot of plot twists around incest, psychology through art, rape, beastly families, inbred upper classes and sniping, groping lower classes. I got intensely bored with the whole thing until it was finally all wrapped up in a f
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysterycrime
A rich old bitch is found dead in her bathtub with slit wrists and wearing a scold's bridle, a device for female punishment used during the 16th-19th centuries, consisting of a metal headpiece with a bit to silence quarrelsome women's tongues. The mysteries she leaves behind: Was it murder or suicide? Why'd she leave her money to her doctor rather than her daughter and granddaughter? What is the symbolic significance of the bridle?

A total page turner. I dug it.
Mathilda Gillespie, una repelente y rica anciana fallece en circunstancias no muy claras: desangrada en su bañera y llevando en su cabeza un artilugio que en la edad media se empleaba para castigar a las mujeres chismosas -y cuya forma se asemejaba a la de una jaula-, se encontraba adornado con flores y ortigas silvestres...¿suicidio o asesinato? Las evidencias recabadas no permiten inclinar la balanza a favor de uno u otro, hasta que se lleva a cabo la lectura del testamento: La anciana ha desh ...more
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was ok

"Few tears fall when rich, spiteful old Mathilda Gillespie's bloody corpse is found in her bathtub, her wrists slit and the ancient scold's bridle clamped on her head. It seems Mathilda's favorite heirloom was also an instrument of torture from the Middle Ages, an iron cage used to gag yapping women. Among the Dorset villagers, only Sarah Blakeney, Mathilda's doctor for her final year, seems even mildly disturbed that the miserable nag has been muzzled forever.

The Cats Mother
This is about the third of hers that I've read and I've enjoyed all of them. She again features a GP as her heroine, who gets caught up in a murder mystery when an elderly woman is found dead in her bath wearing a medieval instrument of torture. The victim was universally disliked and had a difficult relationship with her daughter and granddaughter who are then shocked to find the will reveals she left everything to the GP. The story is revealed in layers, and entries from the victims diary goin ...more
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing

This is a mystery more complex, clever and ambivalent than I remembered it to be from my previous reading when it first came out. Minette Walters created one of her monsters in the victim and revealed her to us bit by teasing bit. The usual humane approach and appealing characters provide balance and welcome relief. I loved every paragraph of it.
Han Le flueff
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in high school, and used it for an English book report. The story has always stayed with me; for me it is a classic, one of the first "who dunnits" I ever read and loved. The use of the scold's bridle in the suicide/murder is just so wonderfully original and the author had me guessing at the culprit until the very end. Highly recommend.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm so pleased I have finally finished this book, and having got to the end I wonder why I persevered. Not one of Minette's better books. Over and over went the the topics of who had which baby, who was sleeping with who, who may have be the murderer. By the end - actually by about half-way - I just didn't care.
Asghar Abbas
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it

One of Walters's most engaging, sharpest, in fact one of the best books in British crime fiction. And Given my affinity for the name Sarah, I enjoyed this even more. Such a strong name.

Really engrossing book, loved it.


gladly accepted this offering of hers.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Page-turnery tosh, entertaining.
Jul 16, 2014 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Kaethe
Kaethe saya: 'better than ice house'
Lana Glover
Oct 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
I had to stop reading this one about halfway through. All of the characters were so annoying, I just really didn't care who did it. I usually like Ms. Walters books, but this one was awful. Thud.
better than ice house
E’ presentato come un classico giallo inglese, ma, in realtà, a parte l’ambientazione (poi nemmeno ben sfruttata), del fascino dei gialloni inglesi ha ben poco. La vicenda è quella di una vecchia signora, detestata dall’intero paese (comprese la figlia Joanna e la nipote Ruth), ritrovata coi polsi recisi all’interno della vasca da bagno della sua villa, Cedar House. La sorpresina delle “adorate" figlia e nipote è che buona parte del suo lascito va alla dottoressa del paese, Sarah Blakeney, per m ...more
Alison Lloyd
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
More Talky Mystery than Psychological Thriller
The plot has a satisfying rate of twists and complications. But I nearly didn't finish the book and this is why:
I felt no sympathy, only dislike for the murder victim. The final reveal came too late to fix this.
Most of the characters are blurry - I had trouble remembering which was which. A lot of character and motivation is built by telling rather than showing. The novel contains a lot of scenes in which one character analyses another. For example w
Roxana Dreptu
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I find fascinating about Minette Walters' novels so far (this is the second one I read, first was Acid Row, and there's a third one in my Mt. TBR) is the time she takes in building strong psychological profiles of damaged individuals - not the single portrait stereotype killer, but a whole palette of small manias and deep character flaws, with a thorough background of where they come from and why they are here. The action is, however, aplenty. Reveals are subtle and natural, even when bring ...more
Shawn Jaquiss
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a retry good mystery. The characters lived in my imagination even when I set the book aside for a few minutes. There were a few places where the plot made some crazy detours and it may have wrapped up a little too quickly but, all in all, I enjoyed the writing.
Sharon George
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another thriller by Minette Walters! This is definitely one of my favorites with a great group of characters. This was an audible book and the reader did an outstanding job .
Mary Beth
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, novels
Walters's mystery is well constructed, populated by fascinating and complex characters, taking the sorts of twists that make you reconsider what came before, but it's a grimy little story, and the solution isn't particularly satisfying.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good book
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Grade A! Beautifully written. Intellectual conversations by the characters.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
niet onaardig, traag verlopend. walters heeft betere boeken geschreven
Fontwell, UK. Zwei Tage liegt die Fünfundsechzigjährige Mathilda Gillespie tot in der Badewanne, als sie endlich mit einer Schandmaske auf dem Gesicht gefunden wird. Mathilde war schwer krank und hatte starke Schmerzen. Hat sie sich selber umgebracht und ihren Tod so in Szene gesetzt?
Ihre Hausärztin Dr. Sarah Blakeney, glaubt nicht an Selbstmord zumal Mathilda Sarah vor kurzem als Alleinerbin ihres Vermögens eingesetzt hatte und keiner einen Vorteil davon gehabt hätte, sie zu töten. Obwohl die H
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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.

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