Friday, October 30, 2009

The Shape of Snakes - Minette Walters

I LOVED this book.
Rarely do I begin a review like that but since finishing it last night it was all I could think about. I had read this British author previously and enjoyed the book but I was not expecting the range of emotions from this novel. The book is about a woman named Mrs. Ranelagh, a woman who was 24 in 1978 and lived on a street that was filled with racists, adulturers and abusers. There was also a woman on the street named Annie Butts - Annie was the only black woman on the street and everyone thought she was crazy. Annie is found dead on the sidewalk one night by Mrs. Ranelagh - and Mrs. Ranelagh suspects she was murdered. Nothing seems to add up in the police reports or with the threats she is recieving for even mentioning that she suspected Annie of being murdered. Her own husband turns away from her and Mrs. Ranelagh makes a choice to give up her crusade to save her marriage and her own sanity. Now it is the year 2000 and Mrs. Ranelagh is going to find out who killed Annie and find justice for Annie and herself.

It sounds a bit far fetched but it was so so so good! Be warned - there are some major scenes of animal cruelty, violence towards woman and children and racism. Some parts were hard to read but the story left me guessing. There was so much more each chapter that you read. The ending gave me goose bumps and made me feel so sad inside. It tied everything up nicely and answered the one question that I had throughout the book - why did Mrs. Ranelagh care so much about a woman she hardly knew.

I love British crime fiction. It might be my new favorite genre - there are so many authors to look for and the ones I have read have been so well written. I can;t wait to head back to the library tomorrow!

Rating - 4

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