Mathilda Gillespie's body was found nearly two days after she had taken an overdose and slashed her wrists with a utility knife. But what shocked Dr. Sarah Blakeney the most was the rusted metal cage obscuring the dead woman's face—a medieval instrument of torture called a scold's bridle grotesquely adorned with a garland of nettles and Michaelmas daises. What happened at Cedar House in the tortured hours before Mathilda's death?
Detective Sergeant Cooper, an elderly policeman nearing retirement, is under pressure from his superiors to bring in a verdict of suicide. And even Mathilda's daughter and granddaughter insist that illness drove her to commit the desperate, final act. Only Sarah and her husband, Jack, refuse to believe that the Mathilda they knew would have taken her own life. Then comes the reading of Mathilda's Last Will and Testament, which shocks her family into a stunned and bitter silence. For Dr. Sarah Blakeney has inherited everything.
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Minette Walters, a writer by occupation, lives in Romsey, England. Her novels include The Ice-House, which won the John Creasey Prize for Britain’s best first mystery of the year, and The Sculptress, a nominee for the Edgar Allen Poe best novel award.
Hometown:Dorchester, Dorset, England
Date of Birth:September 26, 1949
Place of Birth:Bishop¿s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England
Education:B.A. in French, Dunelm (Durham University), 1971
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A woman doctor in an English village finds herself the center of some nasty attention from police as well as villagers. The will of a murdered woman names her the sole beneficiary and people assume she killed her. Summary from BPL.This was my first Minette Walters¿. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the title: a scold¿s bridle was an apparatus used during the 16th and 17th centuries to silence (and punish) ¿nagging¿ women. I assumed it¿s use as the title was figurative; however, this instrument of torture was inflicted on the murdered woman as a child. And she, in turn, abused her own daughter with it! The story takes place in the 20th century; apart from the sheer awfulness of it, what is the likelihood that a parent would choose an antique to discipline their child?!I think this is my last Minette Walters. Too much gratuitous nastiness.5 out 10. Recommended to fans of dark, mean murder mysteries that feature child abuse (!). That¿s meant to be ironic¿.
Minette Walters is known for the taut psychological thrillers that she pens, and this book is certainly that, but it is so much more. It reveals frightening family secrets that keep coming and never seem to end until the end of the book. It depicts a disfuncitonal family that is anyone's worst nightmare, and the whole is not truly revealed until the very last page. This plot is so twisted that I had to take a breath after I finished the book. And Ms. Walters is an accomplished writer. Her characters are so very real, the suspense so gripping and the secerts that she reveals so horrendous that I couldn't put it down. Mathilda Gillespie is a wonderful creation. Even though she is the murder victim, we find out more and more about her past life and present depravaties as we read the book. These are highlighted in the "before Chapter" excerpts from Mathilda's diaries. But Ms. Walters only reveals so much at a time. We have to wait until the very end to determine who and what occurences made Mathilda what she was when she was murdered. I can't believe that I've waited this long to get into Ms. Walters' books. I can't wait to read the rest of them.
Minette Walters' whodunits are always well crafted, but I found this one a touch lugubrious.
Chilling, Minette Walters writes the creepiest crime fiction imaginable.
Acceptable. Workmanlike. Not one single thing memorable for me. Vague sense of itch satisfaction from the ending, but what it was I couldn't tell you this many years later.