By Minette Walters

Dead Letter Mystery (St. Martin's Press)
October 1994, $5.99 ISBN: 0-312-95361-5

Reviewed by Cherie Jung (12/97)

I admit, when this book first came out, everyone was buzzing about how good it was. I never managed to pick up a copy. Last month, our local PBS station aired the video version of the book in two, one and a half hour episodes. I was mesmerized by the actors and the tale. I couldn't wait to get to a bookstore the next morning to pick up a copy, even though I knew that rarely did a movie or TV film do justice to a book, I also knew that since I liked the TV version, chances were that I wouldn't like the book.

Was I ever surprised! I thoroughly enjoyed the book, if "enjoyed" is the right word. Perhaps, "fascinated" or "captivated" would be a better choice of words. To my delight, the book was very similar to the video version, yet just different enough to make for an interesting read. It was the same tale, with a slightly different emphasis on plot and characters.

For those completely unfamiliar with the book, THE SCULPTRESS, of the title refers to a woman who has been incarcerated for the brutal death and dismemberment of her mother and sister. Olive has confessed and been sentenced. A writer, with troubles of her own, wants to tell Olive's story in a book. As the writer begins researching the events surrounding the murders, and interviews Olive, herself, she begins to believe that Olive is innocent of the crimes and sets out to prove it, if she can.

To divulge more would spoil the fun of reading the book. Just know that once you begin, you won't want to put this book down until you've finished. Even then, you may be tempted, as I was, to reread the book immediately. I've now read the book three times and watched the video twice. I am still as mesmerized by the tale as ever.

Other books by this author: THE ICE HOUSE and THE SCOLD'S BRIDLE.

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