Walters follows her dark debut, The Ice House (1992), with the even more striking tale of enormous, unloved Olive Martin, serving a life sentence after confessing to killing and dismembering her mother and sister. Rosalind Leigh, dispatched to interview Olive in prison preparatory to writing a book about the case, finds her unnervingly unrepentant, but finds as well suspicious discrepancies between her confession and the evidence of the crime scene and other witnesses. More and more convinced of Olive's innocence, Roz joins forces with Hal Hawksley--the retired arresting officer whose restaurant has come in for some mysteriously hard times--to dig up whomever Olive's been covering up for. The search will bring Roz up against some singularly nasty neighbors, a brace of spineless lovers, a supremely dysfunctional family--and a denouement whose horrors are touched with unexpected compassion. Walters brings a shivery mastery to the old-fashioned British whodunit, with plotting as twisted as the characters' secrets.