It was mystery time for this duo of reading friends. So when we were able to secure a copy of the new Peter Swanson book, Eight Perfect Murders, Jan and I were definitely on board and ready to be involved in a mystery story so bizarre and strange that it turned into a book that was hard to put down.
What a clever homage to the classic murder mystery! The author’s love shines through in these pages. Don’t come expecting a police procedural with the latest in forensic science. But come expecting to be thoroughly entertained. I have a particular love for the mystery authors of old like Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, and Ruth Rendell, and I binge-read most of them in my 20s. But modern day mystery authors, such as Donna Tartt, gets a nod too, so this book ticked all my boxes.
What could be more perfect than a mystery bookstore owner with an in-house cat named Nero (Nero Wolf)? There are literary references throughout the book, which made me want to drop what I was doing and read (or re-read) every book mentioned. I have a list.
Speaking of lists….Mal, the bookstore owner, is a widower who lost his wife in an unfortunate accident, and spends his evenings alone drinking craft beer and reading. His life is upended when he is contacted by the FBI, who suspects that a serial murderer is using his blog post, Eight Perfect Murders, which lists the eight perfect murders in fiction, as a blueprint for the murders.
As Mal becomes entwined in the investigation it becomes clear there is quite a tangled web to unweave. Along the way we learn bits and pieces of Mal’s life and backstory. There was a moment where I thought the story was going in a direction I couldn’t get behind but the author was clever enough to fool me and the ending was perfection.
This was a buddy read with my friend, Marialyce, and we enjoyed our discussion, especially of the ending.
I loved this clever, fun book and highly recommend it for avid fans of the mystery genre. I think those who have a true love for the craft will love this book. I closed the last page with a better knowledge and appreciation for classic murder/crime books.
I loved the author’s book, The Kind Worth Killing. This book has once again made me a fan of Peter Swanson.
· I received a copy of the book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Having really enjoyed this author’s The Kind Worth Killing, I was super anxious to take on this new story as it seemed to possess all the elements one loves in their mystery stories. It was quite the story and a bit of a cautionary tale for those of us who blog and make lists.
In this book, we meet a book store owner, Malcolm Kershaw, who years ago had compiled a list of the perfect murders found in various books, ranging from Agatha Christie to Donna Tart with many of the creme de la creme authors we think of today when the word mystery comes to mind. Who knew that now, in the present day, an FBI agent, Gwen, makes what seems to be a connection between Mal’s list and murders that have been carried out. Strange but seemingly true, Mal finds himself being drawn deeper and deeper into a web where the spider, aka the murderer, seems to be well acquainted with Mal, even to the point of the death of Mal’s wife. As in all good mysteries of all, there are a plethora of suspects.
It’s a game of cat and mouse and as the noose seems to be getting tighter around Mal’s neck, we see twists and turns in the story that we didn’t see coming. How can this murderer know so much about Mal, and why is it that he is being drawn in closer and closer to the danger that might eventually lead to his demise?
The story, told with lots of references to previous murder mystery stories was such a clever way to present the story with all its evil and the realization that what we have in this story is a bona fide serial killer. The movement of the book through the various scenarios gives us an appreciation for the authors that Mr Swanson included in this tale and gave it a definite “mystery of a bygone day” feel. However, be cautioned that if you have not read these books, many of the murderers are given away by Mal’s musings over the list and its contents.
I do recommend this book to all those who love that mystery that weaves a pattern around what you think is happening and then blows you away. You can think you are pretty smart and have your killer nailed down, but you will be in for that inevitable surprise. With a nod to the past, Mr Swanson has created a wonderful book for those of us who love a mystery, and who doesn’t?
Thank you to Peter Swanson, William Morrow Books, and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book due out on February 5, 2020.