Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Scold's Bridle by Minette Walters

The mark of a good yarn is surely when dust starts to accumulate on the furniture and the dishes start to pile up by the sink. I have just finished reading a whodunnit which had this effect upon me.

The Scold's Bridle by Minette Walters is a murder mystery in which the elderly victim is found naked in her bath, an apparent suicide, wearing a scold's bridle that has been festooned with nettles and daisies. The protagonist in this tale is Sarah, the young and naive village doctor, who at one point has the finger of suspicion pointed in her direction. The book is well written and well characterised, liberally sprinkled with Shakespearean references and quotes. My only criticism is that the physical pain inflicted on people who were forced to wear the particular instrument of punishment featured in the book seemed to be overlooked (though I suppose that drawing attention to this may have turned the book into a horror story, and I wouldn't have carried on reading) .

The Scold's Bridle won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger in 1994. Ms. Walters donated the prize money to the establishment of a library project in Zimbabwe. Her publisher donated a similar amount and together they were able to open several bush libraries and stock them with books for children, written in local dialects.

Wikimedia Commons Licence. A scold's bridle aka brank

Minette Walters is an award winning crime writer who since 1992 has published a dozen internationally best selling psychological suspense novels. Several, including  The Scold's Bridle, were translated into disturbing television dramas. Find out more on her website -

Minette Walters

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