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WALTERS, Minette



The Sculptress

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It was impossible to see her approach without a shudder of distaste. She was a grotesque parody of a woman, so fat that her feet and hands and head protruded absurdly from the huge slab of her body like tiny disproportionate afterthoughts. Dirty blonde hair clung damp and thin to her scalp, black patches of sweat spread beneath her armpits. Clearly, walking was painful. She shuffled forward on the insides of her feet, legs forced apart by the thrust of one gigantic thigh against another, balance precarious. And with every movement, however small, the fabric of her dress strained ominously as the weight of her flesh shifted. She had, it seemed, no redeeming features. Even her eyes, a deep blue, were all but lost in the ugly folds of pitted white lard.

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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?

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“To her surprise, the old woman blushed. “Couldn't get the ang of them," she snapped. "The old man tried a rubber once but didn't like it and wouldn't do it again. Old bugger. No skin off ‘is nose if I kept falling."

It was on the tip of Roz's tongue to ask why Ma couldn't get the hang of contraceptives when the penny dropped. If she couldn't read and she was too embarrassed to ask how to use them, they'd have been useless to her. Good God, she thought, a little education would have saved the country a fortune where this family was concerned.

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