Minette Walters isn’t someone whose novels I’ve read before, and generally when choosing something to read I stick to the same authors unless I’m stopping of at Smith’s on the way through the station, in which case it’s a case of grabbing the latest bestseller off the shelf.

But the other day, when I was procrastinating through my reading list (I’m supposed to be reading The Triumph of the Moon and Cycles of Time), I wandered into the charity shop around the corner from my house and picked up three novels for a pound. One of these was The Scold’s Bridle by Minette Walters.

It’s different from what I’m used to reading. Mary Higgins Clark and Tess Gerritsen, two of my favourite crime writers, create novels that are insanely gripping. I often come close to missing my stop on the train if I’m reading one, I rarely want to put it down, and when I get to the end there’s that amazing feeling of finishing some kind of sprint. Mo Hayder and Karen Rose I like for the shock element they bring, and on occasion they genuinely make my skin crawl, which is one of those half-horrible, half-pleasant feelings.

Minette Walters didn’t fit either of those descriptions, but she still writes a good novel. I kept forgetting I was reading it when I put it down. It wasn’t particularly gripping, or especially horrifying. But it was satisfying. A proper novel, lots of interesting relationships between characters, a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. And I definitely didn’t guess the ending.

The Scold’s Bridle centres around an old woman who, when she dies, leaves her entire fortune to the village doctor in a move that shocks everyone, not least her daughter and granddaughter who expected to inherit. Her death is originally ruled as suicide, but one policeman isn’t convinced, and sets out to investigate. Of course, it’s murder, but the murderer is quite a surprise.

Worth reading, especially if you haven’t read any of her stuff before. I’m going to try and find some more of hers as well.

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