Par une lugubre nuit d'hiver, Ailsa Jolly-Renard est retrouvée morte de froid, à moitié dévêtue sur la terrasse de son manoir. Assassinat ou accident ? La police conclut à une mort naturelle par hypothermie.
Ce n'est pas l'avis de certaines habitantes de Shenstead, petit village du Dorset, persuadées que son mari, le colonel Jolly-Renard l'a assassinée. Calomnié chaque soir au téléphone par des interlocuteurs anonymes, le vieil homme est emporté dans une spirale infernale. Qui alimente ces rumeurs ? Et quel est le terrible secret de famille qui, depuis des années, hante la mémoire du clan Jolly-Renard ?
Gold Dagger Award 2003, le plus prestigieux prix de littérature policière anglaise.
Méfiez-vous du monstre que vous avez créé.
En apparence, une famille bourgeoise sans histoire, émigrée en Angleterre depuis un pays africain : la mère, le père et les deux fils. Mais les Songoli cachent un secret : Muna, quatorze ans, orpheline. Elle dort à la cave, vit recluse, sans que personne de l'extérieur ne soupçonne son existence, et sert d'esclave à toute la famille. Puis un jour, le plus jeune des deux fils ne revient pas de l'école. Scotland Yard investit la maison afin d'enquêter sur sa disparition. Face à la police, le couple Songoli est obligé de donner le change et de traiter Muna comme sa fille. Mais ce que ses tortionnaires n'ont pas deviné, c'est que Muna est extrêmement intelligente... Manipulatrice de génie, elle organise méticuleusement sa vengeance.Une plongée oppressante dans la psyché d'une adolescente criminelle. Si vraisemblable, si proche de ce qu'on peut lire à la page des faits-divers, qu'on ne peut s'en détacher, fasciné.
Mathilda Gillespie parlait trop, buvait trop et terrorisait son entourage. Elle était richissime, avare et fabulatrice. Sa fille se droguait, sa petite-fille la volait. Son testament, ignoré de tous, les déshéritait. On la retrouva noyée dans sa baignoire, enguirlandée d'asters et d'orties blanches, comme Ophélie, et affublée d'une muselière en fer rouillé, comme une sorcière médiévale. Ce suicide, ou plus vraisemblablement ce meurtre, était un sorte de chef-d'oeuvre, une énigme résultant d'une vie entière de mensonges, d'amours étranges, de haine et de violence. Seul le journal intime de Mathilda pourrait peut-être en livrer tous les secrets. Mais ce journal a disparu.
" D'où provenait la fascination qu'exercait Olive Martin ? Du spectacle grotesque de son mètre cinquante-cinq pour quelque cent vingt kilos ? De la répulsion qu'elle inspirait ? Elle avait débité sa mère et sa soeur en morceaux qu'elle avait rassemblés sur le sol de la cuisine en une composition abstraite sanguinolente. Le crime mis à part, ce qui rendait son cas exceptionnel, c'est qu'elle avait plaidé coupable et même refusé de répondre. "
Dès sa première rencontre avec Olive Martin, Rosalind Leigh, qui a accepté d'écrire un livre sur elle, a le sentiment que la meurtrière obèse n'est pas coupable. Mais alors pourquoi ces aveux ?
Le charme des jardins anglais tient au savant désordre qui y règne et à la fréquence des meurtres qui s'y commettent.
Indifférentes au ragots du village qui les accusent de sorcellerie et de moeurs bizarres, Diana, Anne et Phoebe, amies intimes en apparence, vivent à l'écart dans un manoir dont le parc abrite une antique chambre froide du XVIIIe siècle, où l'on découvre les restes congelés et méconnaissables d'un homme aux doigts et aux dents arrachés. Le cadavre serait-il celui de ce salaud de David Maybury, le mari de Phoebe inexplicablement disparu dix ans auparavant ?
Deux flics tentent de percer l'énigme. Ils auront du mal à faire perdre leur flegme aux trois vipères de Streech Grange.
Something else had happened . . . Something so terrible that she was too frightened to search her memory for it . . . The newspapers reported the case with relish. Jane (Jinx) Kingsley, fashion photographer and heiress, tries to kill herself after being unceremoniously jilted by her fiancé, who has since disappeared – together with Jinx's best friend Meg Harris . . . But when Jinx wakes from her coma, she can remember nothing about her alleged suicide attempt. With the help of Dr Alan Protheroe of the Nightingale Clinic, she slowly begins to piece together the fragments of the last few weeks. Then the memories begin to surface . . . memories of utter desperation and absolute terror. 'Violence may well be offered to anyone who tries to part you from this marvellous, dramatically intelligent novel. It shimmers with suspense, ambiguity and a deep, unholy joy' Frances Fyfield, Daily Mail 'Guaranteed to burn the midnight oil' Mike Ripley, Daily Telegraph
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 . . . ‘An atmosphere of tantalizing, overpowering menace . . . The tradition of the English whodunnit has passed into the safe hands and dangerous imagination of Minette Walters’ The Times
‘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 foreseen that the encounter was destined to change her life – for ever? ‘This is one of my books of the year’ Sunday Times ‘A devastating effective novel’ Observer ‘Awesomely accomplished . . . The plot twists and grips, like an octopus' Daily Telegraph
When she revisited, always with astonishment, what had happened to her, it was the deliberate breaking of her fingers that remained indelibly printed on her memory . . . Twelve hours after a woman’s broken body is washed up on a deserted shore, her traumatized three-year-old daughter is discovered twenty miles away wandering the streets of Poole. But why was Kate killed and her daughter, a witness, allowed to live? And why weren’t they together? More curiously, why had Kate willingly boarded a boat when she had a terror of drowning at sea? Police suspicion centres on both a young actor, whose sailing boat is moored just yards from where the toddler is found, and the murdered woman’s husband. Was he really in Liverpool the night she died? And why does their daughter scream in terror every time he tries to pick her up?
November 1978. Britain is on strike. The dead lie unburied, rubbish piles in the streets – and somewhere is West London a black woman dies in a rain-soaked gutter. Her passing would have gone unmourned but for the young woman who finds her and who believes – apparently against reason – that Annie was murdered. But whatever the truth about Annie – whether she was as mad as her neighbours claimed, whether she lived in squalor as the police said – something passed between her and Mrs Ranelagh in the moment of death which binds this one woman to her cause for the next twenty years. But why is Mrs Ranelagh so convinced it was murder when by her own account Annie died without speaking? And why would any woman spend twenty painstaking years uncovering the truth – unless her reasons are personal . . . ?
'It was evident, if there were no other entrance to the ice house, that the body had at some point traversed this thorny barrier . . . The big question was, how long ago? How long had that nightmare been there?' The people of Streech village had never trusted the three women living up at the Grange – not since Phoebe Maybury's husband suddenly, inexplicably, vanished. Ten years later a corpse is discovered in the grounds and Phoebe's nightmare begins. For once they have identified the body the police are determined to charge her with murder . . . 'The most impressive first novel in years' Daily Telegraph 'A seductive writer with an imagination that makes her dangerous to know' Sunday Express 'Terrific first novel with a high Rendellesque frisson count' The Times
When elderly Ailsa LockyerFox 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 LockyerFox. 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 behaviour begins to alarm his Londonbased 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? . . .
In the small Hampshire village of Sowerbridge, Irish labourer 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 Patrick’s parents and cousin, who report incidents of vicious threats and violence. But friend and neighbour 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 O’Riordan name. Days before the trial, terrible secrets about the O’Riordans’ past are revealed to Siobhan, and the family’s 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 . . .
Have you ever wanted to bury a secret so deeply that no one will find out about it? With private security firms supplying bodyguards in every theatre of war, who will notice the emergence of a sexual psychopath from the ranks of the mercenaries? Reuters correspondent Connie Burns is no stranger to the world’s troublespots, including the vicious civil unrest in Sierra Leone and the war in Iraq. But as she begins to suspect that a foreigner is using the chaos of war to act out sadistic fantasies against women, her efforts to bring him to justice leave her devastated. Degraded and terrified, she goes into hiding in England and strikes up a friendship with Jess Derbyshire, a loner whose reclusive nature may well be masking secrets of her own. Connie draws from the other woman’s strength and makes the hazardous decision to attempt a third unmasking of a serial killer . . . Knowing he will come looking for her . . .