Minette Walters has been described as the Queen of British Crime Fiction and her work has been translated into 26 languages. Her first novel, The Ice House, won the CWA John Creasey Award in 1992 and The Sculptress won the Edgar Allan Poe Award. Television rights have been sold in her first five books and the sixth is currently in production. She lives with her husband and two children in Dorset.
Walter's zinger of a debut deftly dissects the lives of three reclusive English women who become the subject of censure and speculation during a murder investigation. After a rotting corpse is found in the ice house of Streech Grange, Chief Inspector Walsh sets out at once to prove it is the body of David Maybury, whom wife Phoebe was suspected of murdering when he was reported missing years earlier. Since no body was ever found, Walsh deduces that Maybury returned and was killed by Phoebe or one of her friends, Anne and Diane, who live with her at the Grange. Detective Sgt. Alan McLoughlin, however, isn't so sure, especially after the coroner says the dead man was older than David and the local belief that the three women are a lesbian menage a trois turns out to be untrue. But McLoughlin can't understand why the Grange's residents make the investigation so difficult by refusing to answer questions and sometimes openly lying. Walters skillfully brings together the relationships between the women and the policemen into a complicated but believable puzzle, which she solves with panache. (July)