‘It was a slaughterhouse, the most horrific scene I have ever witnessed… Olive Martin is a dangerous woman. I advise you to be extremely wary in your dealings with her.’ The facts of the case were simple: Olive Martin had pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering her sister and mother, earning herself the chilling nickname ‘The Sculptress’. This much journalist Rosalind Leigh knew before her first meeting with Olive, currently serving a life sentence. How could Roz have foreseen that the encounter was destined to change her life – for ever?
I didn’t chose this book, my Aunt bought it (I think from a charity shop or something, I can’t remember) and offered it to me along with a huge pile of books that she was going to take to her holiday let flat. I took this one and another because they were thrillers and so would fit in with my Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge for this year.
This sounded a little creepy, but I do love that kind of thing – as long as it was mainly thriller, not horror. This was.
And love it I did. You know when you start a book and don’t want to put it down? I totally had that with this. I got into it really quickly and stayed into it the whole way through. I kind of loved to hate (or I think maybe hated to love) Olive who Walters makes you feel sorry for and yet be totally repulsed at, on the same page. Roz is an awesome main character, she’s mad – doing things that had me shouting at her to go back home not be so stupid – but fun and so loveable.
The ending is a little ambiguous, which at the time annoyed me a bit, but it kept me thinking about it for the next few days, which I think is brilliant – it has to be a good book to keep me thinking about it a few days later!
When I just googled the book to get the description, I found out it was a TV series over here in 1996 (it’s quite an old book) starting Pauline Quirke. As soon as I saw it, it slid into place – Pauline Quirke is a perfect Olive. Perfect. I’m going to somehow try to get hold of it, I think it will be really good.
As you can see, I loved it. I’d never heard of Minette Walters, but will definitely be looking out for more from her!