The Sculptress

Narrated by: Sandra Burr
Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
4 out of 5 stars (184 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Everyone knows Olive Martin, the huge and menacing woman who was found five years ago with the carved-up bodies of her mother and younger sister. Everyone knows how she pleaded guilty to murder at her trial. And everyone knows not to anger the Sculptress even now that she is safely locked in prison for a minimum of 25 years.

When Rosalind Leigh accepts a commission to write a book about Olive, she finds herself wondering what lies behind all of these facts that everyone knows. When Roz first visits her in prison, she finds that Olive is not quite what she expected. And if - as Roz is repeatedly warned - Olive lies about almost everything, then why did she confess so readily to two hideous murders? The deeper she is drawn into the shadowy world of the Sculptress, the more firmly she is convinced that Olive is hiding something - perhaps even her innocence. But whom could Olive be protecting - and why?

©1994 Minette Walters (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Edgar Award, Best Novel, 1994

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    64
  • 4 Stars
    70
  • 3 Stars
    33
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    5

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    58
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    15

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    57
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    5

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Top-notch crime fiction

Unlike the other review here, I didn't find the romantic plot twist a distraction from the story. The twists and turns of the narrative were first-rate and the plot kept me guessing until the last few chapters. Great stuff and a terrific listen.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, poor narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, but only if they can overlook the tedious narration.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sculptress?

The last few sentences...

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Sandra Burr?

Anyone British. Most Americans do dreadful British accents and Sandra Burr's accents were labored and forced. I was always aware that she was an American "acting" the part. It was distracting.

Could you see The Sculptress being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It has already been filmed as a BBC film.

Any additional comments?

This book made me want to read more Minette Walters.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The narrator spoiled it!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I am aware of the story line having seen it on UK TV decades ago and was interested to hear the book for this reason, as I know there is a twist but can't remember the end. However the american accent trying to do British accents was a mixture of poor Audrey Hepburn accents!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sculptress?

The prison guard who sounds like Eliza Doolittle (before) and the British main character who sounds like Audrey in a Roman Holiday with an american accented inner dialogue (which is actually a blessing)! Olive comes from DaRlington not Dallington and surely even Americans frown, not frowen - and I'm not through the first hour yet!

How could the performance have been better?

Select any British accented narrator - Pauline Quirk who played Olive in the UK Drama would have been excellent....at all the accents.

Could you see The Sculptress being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It was and it starred Pauline Quirk who was brilliant in it.

Any additional comments?

Really you couldn't find any British accented person to narrate this book?

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Poor Voice Acting Ruins Great Story

Would you try another book from Minette Walters and/or Sandra Burr?

It's a great story, almost ruined by terrible voice acting. I'd recommend reading the book rather than suffering through the audio version.I could not put the book down when I read it a few years ago, and I enjoy the author's work immensely.

How could the performance have been better?

Sandra Burr has a nice voice, when she's not mangling British accents. If she had read the book without her unsuccessful attempts at voice acting, I'd have given her 4 stars. I would be very skeptical about trying another of her narrations.

Any additional comments?

Buy the book and give the audio version narrated by Sandra Burr a miss.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Sculptress

Beautifully written and narrated.
I loved the story till the end could not guess the ending
Would highly recommend this book

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • G.
  • 05-01-09

started out well

I was intrigued by the grotesque nature of the book, admittedly I have a fondness for such things! Too bad the story didn't hold it's momentum and quickly devolved into a romance that was literally a red herring (sp.?) I don't mind romance when it's germane to the plot, here it was not. How do these people find each other and then fall in love and decided to move in.... in like a few weeks? Rosalind, the protagonist, finds herself in one violent situation after another, whether with a lover, ex husband, or evil guy, and her reaction is basically the same--glazed over indifference. Her character was a little formulaic for me, beautiful, running around fooling everyone, and solving the murder when no one else ever had a clue. She makes a decision about halfway through the book about the guilt or innocence (I won't say, it'll spoil it for you) of the Sculptress, and there is absolutely no basis for this decision, kind of a hunch. Then the story, and the girl, gets plain goofy, stabbing bad guys with a hat pin, secretly tape recording a thug threaten to kill her. I felt like I was reading Nancy Drew! (nothing against the heroine, I read all her stuff as a girl) I was first attracted to TS because I like a gritty psychologically deviant story. This one was more like a treasure hunt, each clue is picked up where the last one is found.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Should’ve Paid More Attention to the Reviews

If I recall correctly, thankfully I bought this as a Daily Deal rather than having paid full price or using a credit. Agreed with many reviewers - not sure why the narrator would bounce between the appropriate and necessary British accent and American - distracting indeed. I also found the myriad characters & concurrent-yet-not-quite-related storylines confusing. I stuck through til the end, but only out of stubbornness.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Slow Burn

The first book I read by this author was "The Last Hours" and I guess I've been looking for something else she wrote of the same caliber. I did not find it in "The Scold's Bridle" but this book did live up to my expectations.

It is a slow burn book. This is what I call a book that does not come right out and grab you. Still that being said, the mystery was intriguing, the characters well developed and the narration was adequate.

While I love Sandra Burr's narration, my only major complaint about this book is that the book is set in England with British characters, and I feel it should haave had a British narrator, or at least one that could do an appropriate British accent.

If you are looking for a book that builds up to a great conclusion, you'll thoroughly enjoy this book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story with a horrible narration

The narrator's interpretation of the different voices and characters in this book was so irritating and annoying to me that I almost wasn't able to finish this book. She sounded overexaggerating and unnatural. It was like she was trying to mimic a certain accent, but not quite getting it right, which was absolutely distracting.
Thankfully the storyline was great and kept me interested enough to stay until the end. It even made me interested in other books by Minette Walters, but I will be sure to avoid Sandra Burr as a narrator.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narration is the worst I've heard.

The story was probably a decent tale. More unique than many these days, but the performance was impossible for me to get through. I believe it was a North American narrator; in any case the accents she produced were painful to hear. She should have just read in her own accent and used her own country' s accents to delineate the characters. Spoiled the novel.