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Minette Walters is a British author of mystery, historical mystery and crime fiction novels.

Born in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, the United Kingdom, she attended Durham University where she graduated with a BA degree in French.

During her gap year, she was in voluntary service in Israel between March and September of 1968.

Minette has held several jobs throughout her career, including working in a secretarial role, as a barmaid, sub-editor and editor of IPC magazines, and as a freelance author.

Other than her work, Minette is a huge believer in supporting charity.

She has for several years been a patron of Julia’s House–a children’s hospice providing continuous care to children with terminal illnesses and offering emotional support to their families–as well as a patron of Dorchester Arts–an organization which encourages people of all ages to enjoy and take part in different arts events at local venues.

Minette is married to the love of her life Alec Walters, with whom she has two children.

They currently reside near Dorchester, Dorset, England.

More about Minette Walters

Genres: Crime Suspense, Historical Mystery, Mystery

Born: 1949

United Kingdom

Website: https://minettewalters.co.uk/

Non Series

  • The Ice House (1992)
  • The Sculptress (1993)
  • The Scold's Bridle (1994)
  • The Dark Room (1995)
  • The Echo (1997)
  • The Breaker (1998)
  • The Shape of Snakes (2000)
  • Acid Row (2001)
  • Fox Evil (2002)
  • Disordered Minds (2003)
  • The Devil's Feather (2005)
  • The Chameleon's Shadow (2007)
  • The Swift and the Harrier (2021)

Chapbooks

  1. The Tinder Box (2004)

Collections

  1. Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People (2011)

Last Hours

  1. The Last Hours (2017)
  2. The Turn of Midnight (2018)

Novellas

  1. Chicken Feed (2006)
  2. A Dreadful Murder (2013)
  3. The Cellar (2015)

Omnibus Books

  1. The Ice House / The Sculptress (2006)
  2. Innocent Victims (2012)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

The Ice House

The three women living in seclusion at an elegant Hampshire country house have long been fodder for village gossip...even whispers of a witches' coven. So when a faceless corpse of uncertain vintage is found in the Streech Grange ice house, Chief Inspector Walsh can't wait to make a case of it.

Lady of the manor Phoebe Maybury, still haunted by Walsh's relentless investigation of her husband's strange disappearance ten years ago, is calm. She and her two housemates--sensitive, charming artist Diana Goode and pretty, earthy Anne Cattrell--seem as puzzled as the police. But do they have something to hide?

While Walsh strives to nail Phoebe for murder, sexy young Detective Sergeant McLoughlin turns his attention to the exasperating and magnetic Anne. Soon his inquiry and his impulses will draw him into a tangled thicket of love, loyalty, and deadly intrigue.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0312951429
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
The Sculptress

“It was a slaughterhouse, the most horrific scene I have ever witnessed....Olive Martin is a dangerous woman. I advise you to be extremely wary in your dealings with her.” 

The facts of the case were simple: Olive Martin had pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering her sister and mother, earning herself the chilling nickname “The Sculptress.” This much journalist Rosalind Leigh knew before her first meeting with Olive, currently serving a life sentence. How could Roz have forseen that the encounter was destined to change her life -- forever?

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 1993
ISBN: 978-0330355698
Publisher: Pan Books
The Scold's Bridle

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 * a verdict of suicide. Only Dr Blakeney, it seems, doubts the verdict. Until it is discovered that Mathilda's diaries have disappeared...

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-1447208099
Publisher: Pan Publishing
The Dark Room

Jinx Kingsley, a prominent photographer and millionaire’s daughter, wakes up in an exclusive hospital suffering from amnesia. 

Not only can she not remember the car accident that caused her memory loss, but she doesn’t remember that her impending wedding has been called off or that her former fiancé and his girlfriend have been brutally murdered in the same way her first husband had been ten years before. 

Now she must try to piece together her memories in order to determine her innocence. With deft psychological explorations and shocking twists, Walters brings the story to an awe-inspiring conclusion.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 1995
Ebook: B000SEGMC8
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
The Echo

A homeless man is found starved to death in the garage of a ritzy London home. The police chalk it up to an unfortunate accident, but a journalist, Michael Deacon, is intrigued. Amanda Powell, a socialite whose wealthy husband vanished five years ago after being accused of embezzlement, is just as interested as Michael in finding out who died in her garage. They have no idea that this simple story will unveil a web of deceit that is an appalling as the people behind it.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 1997
ISBN: 978-0307277107
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
The Breaker

A woman's body washes up on a deserted shore on the south coast of England and her traumatized three-year-old daughter is discovered 20 miles away, alone and apparently abandoned. As the investigation proceeds, police shift their attention from a loner obsessed with pornography to the woman's husband.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1447207931
Publisher: Pan Publishing
The Shape of Snakes

Mrs. Ranelagh has never stopped thinking about the dead body she found in the gutter twenty years ago, during Britain’s Winter of Discontent. “Mad Annie,” as she was known, was the only black resident of her West London neighborhood and openly despised by the community. The police called her death an accident, but Mrs. Ranelagh has always suspected it was murder. 

However, her pleas for an investigation were met with a vicious hate campaign that drove her and her husband from the country. Now, determined to uncover the truth, Mrs. Ranelagh has returned to England, where she quickly discovers a sordid trail of domestic violence, racism and adultery that shockingly could lead back to her own family.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-0307277114
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Acid Row

Acid Row. The name the beleaguered inhabitants give to the place they live. A no-man's-land of single mothers and fatherless children where angry, alienated teenagers control the streets.

Into this battleground comes Sophie Morrison, a young doctor visiting a patient in Acid Row. Little does she know that she is entering the home of a known pedophile. And with reports circulating that a tormented child called Amy has disappeared, the vigilantes are out in force...

Soon Sophie is trapped at the center of a terrifying siege, with a man she has come to despise.

Whipped to a frenzy by unsubstantiated rumor, the mob unleashes its hatred. Against authority, the law - and the 'pervert'. 'Protecting Amy' becomes the catch-all defense for the terrible events that follow. And if the murder is part of it, then so be it...

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2001
ISBN: 978-1447207955
Publisher: Pan Publishing
Fox Evil

When elderly Ailsa Lockyer-Fox is found dead in her garden, dressed only in night clothes and with blood stains on the ground near her body, the finger of suspicion points at her wealthy, landowning husband, Colonel James Lockyer-Fox. A coroner`s inquest gives a verdict of `natural causes` but the gossip surrounding him refuses to go away.

Why? Because he`s guilty? Or because resentful women in the isolated Dorset village where he lives rule the roost? Shenstead is a place of too few people and too many secrets. Why have James and Ailsa cut their children out of their wills? What happened in the past to create such animosity within the family? And why is James so desperate to find his illegitimate grandchild?

Friendless and alone, his reclusive behavior begins to alarm his London-based solicitor, Mark Ankerton, whose concern deepens when he discovers that James has become the victim of a relentless campaign which accuses him of far worse than the death of his wife. Allegations which he refuses to challenge... Why? Because they`re a motive for murder?...

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0330493901
Publisher: Pan Books
Disordered Minds

In 1970, Harold Stamp, a retarded twenty-year-old was convicted on disputed evidence and a retracted confession of brutally murdering his grandmother - the one person who understood and protected him. Less than three years later he is dead, driven to suicide by isolation and despair. A fate befitting a murderer, perhaps, but what if he were innocent?

Thirty years on, Jonathan Hughes, an anthropologist specializing in social stereotyping, comes across the case by accident. He finds alarming disparities in the evidence and has little doubt that Stamp`s conviction was a terrible miscarriage of justice. But how far is Hughes prepared to go in the search for justice? Is the forgotten story of one friendless young man compelling enough to make him leave his books and face his own demons?

And with what result? If Stamp didn`t murder Grace Jeffries then somebody else did... and sleeping dogs are best left alone..

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0330420020
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
The Devil's Feather

Foreign correspondent Connie Burns is hunting a British mercenary that she believes is responsible for the rape and murder of five women in Sierra Leone in 2002. 

Two years later she finds him training Iraqi police in Baghdad. Connie is determined to expose his crimes, but then she is kidnapped and released after three days of unspeakable torture. 

Silently, she returns to England and attempts to isolate herself, but it soon becomes apparent that the horrors of the world and her own nightmarish past aren’t so easy to escape from.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0307277077
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
The Chameleon's Shadow

Somewhere in the endless, deadly desert between Basra and Baghdad, Lieutenant Charles Acland's convoy was attacked. Recovering in the hospital, Charles is crippled by migraines and suspicious of his doctors. He grows uncharacteristically aggressive, particularly against women. 

Rejecting cosmetic surgery, he moves to London. There he sinks into a quagmire of guilt and paranoia—until an outburst of irrational, vicious anger brings him to the attention of the local police, who are investigating three recent murders. 

Now under suspicion, Charles is forced to confront his issues before it's too late, but the shadowy forces working against him—or in him—could be more than he can overcome.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0307277084
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
The Swift and the Harrier

A sweeping historical adventure set during one of the most turbulent periods of British history—featuring a heroine you’ll never forget...

Dorset, 1642.

When bloody civil war breaks out between the king and Parliament, families and communities across England are riven by different allegiances.

A rare few choose neutrality.

One such is Jayne Swift, a Dorset physician from a Royalist family, who offers her services to both sides in the conflict. Through her dedication to treating the sick and wounded, regardless of belief, Jayne becomes a witness to the brutality of war and the devastation it wreaks.

Yet her recurring companion at every event is a man she should despise because he embraces civil war as the means to an end. She knows him as William Harrier, but is ignorant about every other aspect of his life. His past is a mystery and his future uncertain.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2021
ISBN: 978-1838954536
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Chapbooks

The Tinder Box

A chilling tale of prejudice, ambition and cunning in which villagers react to a brutal double murderIn the small Hampshire village of Sowerbridge, Irish laborer Patrick ORiordan has been arrested for the brutal murder of elderly Lavinia Fanshaw and her live-in nurse, Dorothy Jenkins. 

As shock turns to fury, the village residents form a united front against Patricks parents and cousin, who report incidents of vicious threats and violence. But friend and neighbor Siobhan Lavenham remains convinced that Patrick has fallen victim to a prejudiced investigation and, putting her own position within the bigoted community in serious jeopardy, stands firmly by his family in defence of the ORiordan name. Days before the trial, terrible secrets about the ORiordans past are revealed to Siobhan, and the familys only supporter is forced to question her loyalties. 

Could Patrick be capable of murder after all? Could his parents tales of attacks be devious fabrications? And if so, what other lies lurk beneath the surface of their world? As the truth rapidly unfurls, it seems that Sowerbridge residents need to be very afraid. For beneath a cunning façade, someone's chilling ambition is about to ignite.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-0330438506
Publisher: Pan MacMillan

Collections

Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People

• Features two new pieces by award winning author Alexander McCall Smith and Tarnya Cooper, 16th Century Curator and Deputy Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London

• A major collaboration between the National Portrait Gallery, postgraduate students at the University of

Bristol and the National Trust, and includes new research into the identities of the sitters

In Rosy, Tracy Chevalier writes of a handsome young man with a flushed complexion as the object of homosexual desire. Minette Walters writes a poignant letter from a despairing wife. Julian Fellowes has created a biography of a resourceful woman whose husband was executed during Henry VIII's reign.

Sarah Singleton relates the adventures of a spice merchant and amateur musician struggling to make his way in the world, despite his illegitimate status.

Joanna Trollope tells a touching tale about the offer of a marriage proposal in the form of a letter from the sitter's intended bride.

By contrast, the fantasy writer Terry Pratchett has written an amusing tale about an explorer who presented Elizabeth I with a skunk. And John Banville has seen, in the features of a man on his deathbed, the face of an admired officer serving with Cromwell's New Model Army.

These short, fictional narratives build brilliantly on what can be seen in each portrait, thereby providing a new and entertaining way of looking at these intriguing images.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1855144552
Publisher: National Portrait Gallery Publications

Last Hours

The Last Hours

For most, the Black Death is the end. For a brave few, it heralds a new beginning.

Widowed by her husband’s death from the pestilence, Lady Anne assumes control of his people’s future—200 bonded serfs without rights of ownership to land. Strong, compassionate and resourceful—qualities she kept hidden from the husband she loathed and despised—Lady Anne chooses a bastard slave, Thaddeus Thurkell, to act as her steward. Together, they decide to quarantine Develish by bringing the serfs inside a defendable moat and sharing the available food amongst all. 

With this sudden overturning of the accepted social order, where serfs exist only to serve their lords, conflict arises when they’re given a voice. Ignorant of what is happening in the world outside, they wrestle with themselves, with God and the terrible uncertainty of their futures. They fear starvation when their food runs out, but they fear the pestilence more. 

Who amongst them has the courage to leave the safety of the demesne in search of supplies and news? And how safe is anyone in Develish when an unexplained murder threatens the uneasy status quo?

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-1443454988
Publisher: Harper Collins
The Turn of Midnight

As the year 1349 approaches, the Black Death continues its devastating course across England. In Dorseteshire, the quarantined people of Develish question whether they are the only survivors.

Guided by their beloved young mistress, Lady Anne, they wait, knowing that when their dwindling stores are finally gone they will have no choice but to leave. But where will they find safety in the desolate wasteland outside?

One man has the courage to find out.

Thaddeus Thurkell, a free-thinking, educated serf, strikes out in search of supplies and news. A compelling leader, he and his companions quickly throw off the shackles of serfdom and set their minds to ensuring Develish's future - and freedom for its people.

But what use is freedom that cannot be gained lawfully? When Lady Anne and Thaddeus conceive an audacious plan to secure her people's independence, neither foresees the life-threatening struggle over power, money and religion that follows...

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1760632182
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Novellas

Chicken Feed

A body is found in a chicken run...

Based on the true story of the ‘chicken farm murder’ which took place in Blackness, Crowborough, East Sussex in December, 1924.

Norman Thorne was found guilty of the murder of Elsie Cameron, but even at the time of his execution there were doubts about his guilt.

Still swearing his innocence, Norman Thorne was hanged on 22 April 1925.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0330440318
Publisher: Pan Books
A Dreadful Murder

A body is found in the woods.... 

Based on the true story of the shocking murder of Mrs Caroline Luard, which took place in Kent in August 1908.

Caroline Luard is shot dead in broad daylight in the grounds of a large country estate. With few clues available, her husband soon becomes the suspect...but is he guilty?

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1447213239
Publisher: Pan Books
The Cellar

On the day Mr. and Mrs. Songoli’s younger son fails to come home from school, fourteen-year-old Muna’s fortunes change for the better. Until then, her bedroom was a windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. Over the years, she had grown used to being abused by the Songoli family—to being a slave. 

As Scotland Yard swarms the Songoli home following the boy’s disappearance, Muna is given a real bedroom, real clothing, and treated, at least nominally, as a daughter. But her world remains confined. She is not allowed to go outside, doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English. At least that’s what the Songolis believe. 

Before long, it becomes clear that young Muna is far cleverer—and her plans far more terrifying—than the Songolis, or anyone else, could ever imagine.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-0802126283
Publisher: Mysterious Press

Omnibus Books

The Ice House / The Sculptress

The Ice House

The three women living in seclusion at an elegant Hampshire country house have long been fodder for village gossip...even whispers of a witches' coven. So when a faceless corpse of uncertain vintage is found in the Streech Grange ice house, Chief Inspector Walsh can't wait to make a case of it.

Lady of the manor Phoebe Maybury, still haunted by Walsh's relentless investigation of her husband's strange disappearance ten years ago, is calm. She and her two housemates--sensitive, charming artist Diana Goode and pretty, earthy Anne Cattrell--seem as puzzled as the police. But do they have something to hide?

While Walsh strives to nail Phoebe for murder, sexy young Detective Sergeant McLoughlin turns his attention to the exasperating and magnetic Anne. Soon his inquiry and his impulses will draw him into a tangled thicket of love, loyalty, and deadly intrigue


The Sculptress

“It was a slaughterhouse, the most horrific scene I have ever witnessed....Olive Martin is a dangerous woman. I advise you to be extremely wary in your dealings with her.”

The facts of the case were simple: Olive Martin had pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering her sister and mother, earning herself the chilling nickname “The Sculptress.” This much journalist Rosalind Leigh knew before her first meeting with Olive, currently serving a life sentence. How could Roz have forseen that the encounter was destined to change her life -- forever?

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0330446839
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Innocent Victims

Chickenfeed

As part of World Book Day 2006, Minette Walters took part in the Quick Reads initiative, designed to encourage developing readers and adult learners as they explore the exciting world of books. Chickenfeed, Walter's contribution, is a crackling tale based on the true story of the 'chicken farm murder' that took place in Blackness Road, Crowborough, East Sussex in December, 1924.

Although Norman Thorne never confessed to killing his girlfriend Elsie, he was tried and hanged for the crime. Minette's fictionalized account of their relationship is told from the points of view of both Elsie and Norman, from the time of their first meeting at chapel when Norman is 18 and Elsie is 22, until the eve of Norman’s trial for her murder just over four years later.

In the real-life case, an exchange of letters between the lovers, in which Elsie told Norman that she was pregnant, formed part of the evidence that suggested Norman's motive for murder. When the lovers grow apart, Elsie creates a fantasy to replace the reality of their fractured relationship.


The Tinder Box

In the small village of Sowerbridge, Patrick O'Riordan has been arrested for the brutal murder of elderly Lavinia Fanshaw and her live-in nurse, Dorothy Jenkins. As shock turns to fury, the village residents form a united front against the O'Riordan family, while friend and neighbour Siobhan Lavenham remains convinced that Patrick has fallen victim to a prejudiced investigation. Jeopardizing her own position within the bigoted community, Siobhan stands firmly by his family in defense of the O'Riordan name.

Yet when terrible secrets about the O'Riordans' past are revealed, Siobhan is forced to question her loyalties. Could Patrick be capable of murder after all? Could his family's tales of attacks be devious fabrications? And if so, what other lies lurk beneath the surface of their world? As the truth unravels, it becomes clear that beneath a cunning façade, someone's chilling ambition is about to ignite.

Author: Minette Walters
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0802121264
Publisher: Mysterious Press