Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year
I wonder if I should keep these diaries under lock and key. Jenny Spede has disturbed them again . . . What does she make, I wonder, of an old woman, deformed by arthritis, stripping naked for a young man? The pills worry me more. Ten is such a round number to be missing . . .
Mathilda Gillespie's body was found nearly two days after she had taken an overdose and slashed her wrists with a Stanley knife. But what shocked Dr Sarah Blakeney the most was the scold's bridle obscuring the dead woman’s face, a metal contraption grotesquely adorned with a garland of nettles and Michaelmas daisies. What happened at Cedar House in the tortured hours before Mathilda's death?
The police assume that the coroner will return a verdict of suicide. Only Dr Blakeney, it seems, doubts the verdict. Until it is discovered that Mathilda’s diaries have disappeared . . .
"Minette Walters knows the cruel kinkiness that can lurk behind the most sedate of facades."
Los Angeles Times
"Thoroughly chilling . . . gripping . . . disturbing."
"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."