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The Scold's Bridle
Minette Walters
The death of Mathilda Gillespie shocks the English village of Fontwell and sets local tongues wagging. The wealthy old woman is found dead in her bath, a bloody kitchen knife within reach, and a scold's bridle - a medieval instrument of torture used to silence nagging women - over her head. Was her death a cleverly constructed suicide? Or a vicious murder, orchestrated by one of the many people who found Mathilda's snobbism and intolerance too cruel to bear? Sarah Blakeney, Mathilda's doctor and one of the few people who actually liked the difficult but fascinating woman, takes an interest in the case; her interest becomes very personal when she is revealed to be the main beneficiary of the deceased's will. Suddenly Sarah is the center of local gossip, as she must face the accusations of Mathilda's bereft daughter and granddaughter - as well as a police investigation that points increasingly in her own direction and forces her to face some troubling questions: What does her husband know that he's not telling? And what really did happen during those tortured hours before Mathilda's death? Minette Walters is perhaps the most acclaimed new suspense novelist of the 1990s. Her debut, The Ice House, was called "the most impressive first novel for years" (The Daily Telegraph) and named one of the best mysteries of 1992 by the Rocky Mountain News. The St. Petersburg Times hailed The Ice House as "a splendid first book by a British author who is bound to be compared with Ruth Rendell and P. D. James." Critics greeted Walters's second novel, The Sculptress, with even greater enthusiasm. Named a top crime novel of 1993 by the Los Angeles Times Book Review and the Kansas City Star, The Sculptresswas called a "creepy but compulsive tale of psychological suspense that is hard to put down" by The New York Times Book Review. "Intricate, intriguing, and tantalizingly ambiguous, [The Sculptress] ratifies Walters's emergence into the front ranks of today's mystery writers, " decl
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