Eight Perfect Murders
By: Peter Swanson
Mystery / Thriller
Overall: Malcolm Kershaw owns a bookstore in Boston that specializes in murder mystery / crime / thriller books. When he first bought the bookstore, he was doing a blog to bring in more customers. One of his blog articles was called, “Eight
Perfect Murders”, in which he talks about 8 murder mystery books in which he
believes the best, unsolvable murders were pulled-off. Now, an FBI Agent comes into his bookstore looking for him because of several murders which she thinks may be related to the list of murders from his old blog post. She asks to discuss the cases with Malcolm partly as an advisor, but also he’s part suspect too. Malcolm does meet with her and they discuss all the books and all the “perfect murders”, how those may be related to some unsolved murders in the area, and how those murders may all be involved with eachother. One thing is for sure, Malcolm seems to be involved somehow. Throughout this process, we get to know Malcolm more, and learn that he has lots of secrets he is hiding. Is Malcolm the killer from these unsolved murders? Or is it just someone random who is using his article’s ideas? Or is it someone who knows Malcolm, and is trying to frame him? Meanwhile, the list of people murdered keeps getting longer. Are these murders “perfect” and will always remain unsolved? Or will the FBI finally close-in on the killer(s)?
Ovations: I love that this murder mystery / thriller book is about lots of other great murder mystery / thriller books! I love that the narrator of the story, Malcolm, owns a mystery / crime bookstore. I love the idea about the blog article he wrote about 8 Perfect Murders. It is a fun idea for us mystery / thriller lovers! I like that the narrator of the whole book is Malcolm himself writing what he calls a “memoir”, so you don’t know if you can trust anything he says. I love that this book refers to so many Agatha Christie novels, as I am a HUGE Christie fan and have read every single one of her books and plays. This book keeps you interested interested the whole way through. I did not know for sure how this book was going to end. I was not able to guess who the killer(s) was/were. I had suspicions, but was not sure.
Oh Well: OK, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! This book takes it’s whole plot from the plots of other books. You need to have read most of these other books first, before you read this book! If you don’t: First of all, you will be confused, because you might not understand the connections to the books and their plots/murders/endings. Secondly, those perfect murders in those books are explained and talked about and the endings are all given away! So, if you have not read those books yet, the endings are ruined for you! So, my suggestion is to either read them all first, or read any of them that you are interested in reading, because you won’t want to read them afterward, the plots and endings will be spoiled for you! (Note: There are more books than the 8 from the blog post listed here because there are other books talked about in the discussions that will also give away the murders / plot / ending of these books too.) Here is the reading list:
(PS: I did not know about this reading list before I started this book, but I luckily have already read 6 of these books before I read this one. And I was fine following the plot. So, you do not have to read ALL of these if you want to read this book. But, I think reading all 3 Agatha Christies and Strangers On A Train are critical to understanding this book. (Strangers On A Train was made into a great movie in 1951, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Double Indemnity was also made into a great film noir in 1944. You could watch those as movies instead. They are both worth watching!)
And Then There Were None: Agatha Christie
The ABC Murders: Agatha Christie
The Death Of Roger Ackroyd: Agatha Christie
The Red House Mystery: A.A. Milne
Malice Aforethought: Anthony Berkeley Cox
Double Indemnity: James Cain
Strangers On A Train: Patricia Highsmith
The Drowner: John MacDonald
Deathtrap: Ira Levin
The Secret History: Donna Tartt
Opinion: I love that this is a murder mystery about other murder mysteries! I love Agatha Christie books, and they are referred to all throughout this book. But, I would be very upset if I had not read the books that they discuss, because they give away the plots and endings to all those books! This book was well paced, slowly unfolding, and keeping you guessing the whole way through. I would say it’s a murder mystery, not a necessarily a thriller. I would call it a multi-layered, psychological murder mystery. This is my second book by Peter Swanson. The first I read was, THE KIND WORTH KILLING. That book was a masterpiece! I gave that one a 10 out of 10. I will be definitely reading more books by this author in the future! Rating 8 out of 10.