The Scold’s Bridle by Minette Walters

Minette Walters is an absolute master of the psychological thriller. I find her books very readable and difficult to put down and she has the ability to create loveable and hateable characters.

The Scold’s Bridle opens with the wealthy and malicious Mathilda Gillespie, old and deformed by arthritis, being found dead in totally bizarre circumstances. She is found two days after her death, overdosed on drugs, in a bath, with a rusty metal torture frame known as a Scold’s Bridle on her head. Initially the death is assumed to be suicide but as the details of the death fail to add up, her murder is soon being investigated.

Mathilda was a cruel and malicious woman who clung to her gentility and wealth to separate herself from the villagers and she was hated by almost all of them. Some may have hated her enough to murder her.

A pervasive evils seems to infect Mathilda’s entire family. Her greedy and cunning daughter and granddaughter both lead troubled lives and would probably kill for their own gain.

In a complete shock to Mathilda’s doctor, Sarah, and to Mathilda’s family, Mathilda leaves everything to Sarah in her will. Could this have motivated Sarah and her husband to kill Mathilda? Is there a reason for the terms of the will that is buried in Mathilda’s past?

Sweet grandfatherly, but very perceptive detective Tommy Cooper is under pressure to declare the death suicide. But, he doggedly investigates until he finally unravels the circumstances of Mathilda’s death.

I found this novel absolutely gripping and it kept me guessing right to the end.


Book Published 2004


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