The Sculptress is Minette Walters’s most famous novel, the story of Olive Martin, an overweight young woman, convicted for killing and dismembering her mother and sister. Roz Leigh, a journalist who fell apart after a personal tragedy, agrees to visit Olive when her editor wants her to write a book about her. But Roz isn’t really interested in writing about a murderess, until she meets Olive, gets to like her and becomes convinced that she is innocent.

In the midst of her journalistic investigation, Roz meets the people who knew OIive, and hopes that after four years, they will finally talk and provide the proof that Olive is innocent. She realizes that there were irregularities in the investigation and that the man who represented her at the trial was biased, he hated her and took her for a monster, like most people did. Roz also meets Hal Hawksey, an ex-cop in charge of the Olive Martin investigation, now owner of a restaurant, a shady but very attractive man, whose mysterious troubles become a parallel storyline…

The Sculptress is interesting, in the sense that it shows that people are multi-layered and that appearances can be deceiving. In the course of the novel, our opinion about the characters change, as new perspectives and new aspects of their personalities are revealed: this goes all characters, from Olive to Roz herself. The truth, in these conditions, is elusive and maybe ultimately unknowable. I have read Minette Walters before, and also I have enjoyed her novels to a certain extent, but she doesn’t have the talent of Ruth Rendell or Elizabeth George. The Sculptress is a good novel, suspenseful and original, but the characters, instead of complex and  multifaceted, are sometimes simply unbelievable. I am  thinking about Roz, who, from a helpless woman shattered by grief, morphs into a tough fighter, or the character of Edward Clarke, the neighbor, whose predicaments I simply can’t buy…

Rating: 3,5/5