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Disordered Minds Hardcover – 7 Nov 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 423 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1st edition edition (7 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405034165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405034166
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,511,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Minette Walters is England's bestselling female crime writer. She has won the CWA John Creasey Award for best first crime novel, the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best crime novel published in America and two CWA Gold Daggers for Fiction. Minette Walters lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Slowly but surely, Minette Walters has been building up her reputation as one of the UK's most penetrating and distinctive purveyors of the psychological thriller. Disordered Minds will add even more lustre to her name. Such books as Fox Evil and Acid Row demonstrated Walters' reluctance to repeat herself in terms of narrative, and her easy command of the various social groups in her novels (upper middle or council estate) is more sure than that of her colleagues and peers.

Disordered Minds builds on her rich mélange of gifts and continues to strip-mine darker areas of the human psyche than most contemporary novelists--literary or otherwise--are keen to tackle. It's the 1970s: a man dies in prison after a controversial conviction for killing his grandmother. Howard Stamp, an educationally subnormal young man, takes his own life, and the case generates movements claiming Stamp's innocence. Anthropologist Jonathan Hughes digs deeper than the police had originally done, and when Jonathan's path crosses that of the elderly George Gardener, long an advocate of the hapless Stamp's innocence, Gardener co-opts Jonathan in an attempt to clear the dead man's name. But there are some frightening consequences, such as the fact that the real killer will not like being put in the frame again.

As always, Walters is interested in far more than the simple mechanics of crime-novel plotting: Despite their differences, Jonathan Hughes finds that the backward Stamp is still something of a doppelganger of himself, mirroring his own disturbed childhood and sense of alienation, while the background of a pending conflict in Iraq throws the personal dramas sharply into relief. This is Walters at her disturbing best. --Barry Forshaw

About the Author

DISORDERED MINDS is Minette Walters' tenth novel. She lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Having just read through the other online reviews of 'Disordered Minds,' I'm left with a feeling that this latest effort from Minette Walters has split her loyal readership into two camps. Half seem to think it's Walters at her best, half think she's lost her way. I have to admit, sadly I fall into the latter camp.
I did enjoy the book and I did pursue it to the end and, certainly, I will eagerly await any future offerings from Ms Walters. However, I believe this was a flawed novel and perhaps not one which would make a new reader to Walters want to pursue any of her past fantastic offerings, such as The Shape of Snakes, The Sculptress, Acid Row etc... etc...
So what was the problem? I think it's twofold. Firstly, the character of Dr Hughes, who initially poses the idea that Howard Stamp was wrongly convicted of his grandmother's murder in 1970, seems to become far too great a focus in the early part of the book. Following this initial over-emphasis which takes the reader far too far away from the actual plotline, without adding sufficiently to it, Hughes is then suddenly sidelined in favour of telling the story from other viewpoints. It further emasculates an already self-emasculating character and makes his very presence rather irritating. (And personally, I do hate it when authors introduce a new character at the 11th hour because they can't think of any other way to tie up loose ends: the arrival of private detective Sasha Spencer is just too convenient a tool for my taste!)
Secondly, whilst I normally love the way Walters makes her readers weave through an intensely complex plot, I think this one went too far. Lies are told to cover up injustices.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By reader on 1 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of Minette Walters since reading “The Shape of Snakes” a few years ago. I have enjoyed every book, but I found that “Disordered Minds” was pretty disappointing in comparison to the others.
The dimension that the author usually puts around the characters seems to be lacking from this one, making it hard to become involved with the story and to get involved with the characters.
I am sad to say that although a big (in past) fan of Walter’s, my only sense of urgency in finishing this book was so that I could move swiftly onto something else.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Celidwen on 15 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've always been a die hard Minette Walters fan and pre order her latest book as soon as it becomes available. Everything she has written so far has been pitch perfect. The endings are always unexpected and you are eagerly turning the pages until the very last paragraph. This book, however, was a bit of a disappointment. On the whole, it is classic Walters, and you will be hooked to the bitter end. However, when you reach the last page, you will probably find yourself wondering if somebody has ripped out the final chapter. Unlike her other novels, however, this one fizzles out limply without any satisfying conclusion. Although it's another morality tale, this moral is hardly ground breaking stuff (we all have a bit of good and a bit of evil in us - tell us something we DON'T know!) And I have to say that Walters' insistence on using the term "quid pro quo" every chapter in every book is wearing a bit thin - as is her obsession with child abuse (can we have a book about something else?) I hope the next book features a change of subject, and also a change of characters. Walters seems to have fallen into the trap of basing all her characters on the same person, but with different names and job titles. Even the apparently illiterate, violent, abused louts in the novel come out with deep philosophical insights they would never have in a million years - as someone who has relatives like this I can assure you that meaningful introspection doesn't feature heavily in their lives! I'd like to see Walters next book being a bit more gritty and realistic, as her attitude to the "abused", "poor" and "downtrodden" is horribly patronising. She writes from the viewpoint of a smug woolly liberal who's never lived among the people she writes about in a million years.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
I'd never read a book by this author before and given all of the accolades and awards chucked at her, not to mention the hype that she is "Britain's bestselling female crime writer" I genuinely expected something brilliant.

Unfortunately that's not what I got. I was sorely disappointed in this book and I don't know if I would bother picking up something by Minette Walters again- I was so close to just giving up on this entirely. There are far better crime/thrillers out there than this- though I suppose I have to confess that I've probably been ruined in the genre as I have read the far superior Peter James, who to me, nobody else compares to!

The story is based around the possible wrongful arrest and imprisonment of a mentally retarded young man who was found guilty of murdering his grandmother in the 1970's. Three years after being sent down, the man killed himself. A renowned anthropologist re-examines the case years later and discovers that the evidence may be flawed- he suspects that the wrong person was convicted of the crime. The trouble is, the anthropologist has enough problems of his own without trying to expose a murderer as well...

The best thing I can say about this book is that the premise was interesting. However, it was poorly executed and the plot just grew too complex and to be honest, boring. I found the re-cap of the crime itself to be so utterly dull and without any modicum of suspense at all. I know it was re-capped in a `book' format from the anthropologist's point of view, but still- it read in such a technical, repetitive and turgid way that I would have skipped over that part entirely had it not been pertinent to the plot. I like my thrillers to be thrilling and I'm sorry to say, but this wasn't.
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