Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Sculptress - Minette Walters

An obese young woman is in prison for murdering her mother and sister. She has not just murdered them, she has butchered them into small pieces. It's a gripping, intriguing start, and definitely makes you want to read on to find out what the story is behind this gruesome killing.

I'd been meaning to read Minette Walters from the time I saw an interview with her in the British
Writers' Forum magazine, so when I saw The Sculptress in a second-hand book shop, and it said on the cover that the book was the winner of the 1993 Edgar Allen Poe Award, I thought I'd pick it up.

I must admit that I was bowled over by this book until the end. Meaning, that the end destroyed the high rating I might have given it. We spend the whole book trying to understand why the murders were committed, and also by whom, since we're led to believe that the fat woman is innocent, but what emerges in the end is only a possible theory, and not a convincing one. Walters doesn't explain clearly why the mother was killed, and why both of them were so brutally slaughtered. And the last sentence invites us to rethink the whole solution.

So why did I bother to read this book? - when it leaves me wondering at the end who did it and why, and whether this woman is actually innocent. A good mystery should solve everything, explain all the little and big points, and this book fails big time at this.

Still, the writing was good and the book has a
good customer rating on Amazon.com as well so I think I'll read another Walters book before dismissing her work as unsatisfactory.

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