Although the story is narrated by Mrs Ranelagh, the inclusion of much of the documentary evidence she has amassed including photographs, letters and e-mails, gives the reader the freedom to interpret characters and events for themselves. Motivation remains an endless source of fascination for Walters and the presence of several of Mrs Ranelagh's psychiatric reports, ensures that the reasons behind her commitment to the case also remain ambiguous.
Shape of Snakes is a masterful piece of writing that probes deeply into the mind of an isolated, bruised woman, showing remarkable psychological insight. Using her unrivalled talent for characterisation, Walters examines the ease with which we accept the public persona as an accurate representation of the true nature of an individual. In peeling back the layers of this public face, Walters has created a dark and uncomfortable novel--a compelling read that reinforces her position as one of this country's most skilful crime writers. --Sarah Crawford
'Another intriguing mystery from this top crime writer.' -- Family Circle
'Breaking all the rules of popular fiction, Minette Walters asks as much of her readers as many literary novelists, and yet she offers them a book as gripping as any thriller.' -- Natasha Cooper, Times Literary Supplement
'In just under a decade Minette Walters has built up a reputation for dense, absorbing and intelligent crime fiction. Her seventh novel is as gripping as ever. . . . Watch this woman carefully.' -- Image Magazine
'Minette Walters' seventh novel is quite simply a tour de force . . . it succeeds admirably at almost every level.' -- Peter Guttridge, Observer
'This long-awaited novel from a bestselling pen is probably the most unsettling and complex in the whole, extraordinary Walters canon, stamped more clearly than ever with the hallmark of her furious compassion. The drama stays taut until the last page which may, by the way, make you weep.' -- Frances Fyfield, Sunday Express