The Sculptress

Walters, Minette. The Sculptress (1993) 

St. Martin's, 308 pages, $5.99 paperback, ISBN 0 312 95361 5


Rosalind Leigh is a blocked writer given an ultimatum by her publisher: write a book about a sensational murder that occurred several years earlier or be dropped from the publisher’s list.  Roz grudgingly accepts the assignment to interview Olive Martin, a woman in prison for the murder of her mother and sister. Olive is called “the sculptress” because she admitted to hacking her mother and sister to death, then trying to reassemble the severed body parts; in prison Olive also uses wax candles and bits of clay to sculpt dolls that she dresses to look like the people in her life.


Olive Martin is an obese, ugly woman whom Roz finds innately repulsive. But as Roz begins to talk with Olive and to interview other people about the crime to which Olive has confessed, she begins to think that Olive may be innocent. If Olive didn’t kill her own mother and sister, who did? And why would Olive confess to a crime that she didn’t commit?


© 2001 by Mary Daniels Brown




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