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The Scold's Bridle

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Overview

Mathilda Gillespie's body was found nearly two days after she had taken an overdose and slashed her wrists with a utility knife. But what shocked Dr. Sarah Blakeney the most was the rusted metal cage obscuring the dead woman's face - a medieval instrument of torture called a scold's bridle grotesquely adorned with a garland of nettles and Michaelmas daises. What happened at Cedar House in the tortured hours before Mathilda's death?

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Overview

Mathilda Gillespie's body was found nearly two days after she had taken an overdose and slashed her wrists with a utility knife. But what shocked Dr. Sarah Blakeney the most was the rusted metal cage obscuring the dead woman's face - a medieval instrument of torture called a scold's bridle grotesquely adorned with a garland of nettles and Michaelmas daises. What happened at Cedar House in the tortured hours before Mathilda's death?

Detective Sergeant Cooper, an elderly policeman nearing retirement, is under pressure from his superiors to bring in a verdict of suicide. And even Mathilda's daughter and granddaughter insist that illness drove her to commit the desperate, final act. Only Sarah and her husband, Jack, refuse to believe that the Mathilda they knew would have taken her own life. Then comes the reading of Mathilda's Last Will and Testament, which shocks her family into a stunned and bitter silence. For Dr. Sarah Blakeney has inherited everything.

A novel of intrigue and grisly murder from the Edgar Award-winning author of The Ice House. When a wealthy old woman is found dead with a strange medieval torture device over her head, investgators suspect foul play. Simultaneous hardcover release from St. Martin's Press. 2 cassettes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Minette Walters knows the cruel kinkiness that can lurk behind the most sedate of facades."--Los Angeles Times

"Thoroughly chilling . . . gripping . . . disturbing."--Orlando Sentinel

"Walters fearlessly flirts with gothic menace and intricacy as she draws all the loose threads together in this full-bodied plot."--The Washington Post

"A wonderful, thought-provoking mystery by a brilliant new British writer."--The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Fans of P.D. James and Ruth Rendell will respond to Minette Walters's deft touch and psychological suspense and appreciate her ability to depict complex and sympathetic women characters."--Minneapolis Star-Tribune

From Barnes & Noble
Wealthy Mathilda Gillespie is found dead in her bath with a medieval instrument of torture over her head. Sarah Blakeney, Mathilda's doctor & friend, is the main beneficiary of Mathilda's will. Is she also the killer, as a growing body of evidence would indicate?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312956127
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Minette Walters
Minette Walters, a writer by occupation, lives in Romsey, England. Her novels include The Ice-House, which won the John Creasey Prize for Britain’s best first mystery of the year, and The Sculptress, a nominee for the Edgar Allen Poe best novel award.

Good To Know

In our interview with Walters, she shared some fascinating facts about her interests, hobbies, and favorite ways to unwind:

"I've been married for nearly 25 years, have two sons, lead a very contented life in the wilds of Dorset with horses, chickens, dogs, sheep, and write some of the darkest psychological mysteries you'll ever read! I've been described as a woman ‘whose imagination makes her dangerous to know'!"

"I have spent a great deal of time in prison over the last 14 years -- both as a prison visitor, public speaker, and teaching assistant. While I have never used any individual's case as the basis for a book, I have learned a great deal about prisoners' backgrounds and what leads them to prison. The reasons tend to be similar -- dysfunctional family life, minimal parenting, early truanting, poor literacy levels, low self-esteem, no anger-management skills, difficulty relating to others -- and many of these issues are reflected in my novels."

"My major hobby and the way I always unwind is to decorate my house while listening to the many excellent BBC stations on the radio. As a news junkie, my favorites are Radio 4 and Radio 5 -- some of whose material can be accessed via the Internet or on the BBC World Service. Enjoy, if you can find them!"

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    1. Hometown:
      Dorchester, Dorset, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 26, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in French, Dunelm (Durham University), 1971
    2. Website:

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