Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, and Ira Levin’s Death Trap.
But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookshop in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. There is killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.
To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects . . . and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.
TITLE: Eight Perfect Murders
AUTHOR: Peter Swanson
PUBLISHER: Harper Audio
PUBLISH DATE: March 3, 2020
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Books are time travel. True readers all know this. But books don’t just take you back to the time in which they were written; they can take you back to different versions of yourself.” -- Peter Swanson, Eight Perfect Murders
A bloggers list made years ago is the basis of Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, an absolutely brilliant murder mystery by one of my favorite authors. When Malcom Kershaw, part owner of The Old Devils Bookshop in Boston specializing in crime/murder mysteries, is approached by an FBI agent who thinks that past and recent murders are a result of Malcom’s blog post, it opens up a sordid tale of murder, deceit, and lies.
The plot is intriguing, a real who-dunnit told in Malcom’s POV. Malcom slowly reveals tidbits throughout the story in periods of reflection, letting the reader know that all is often not as it may seem. The use of murder mystery classics based off of Malcom’s prior blog post made everyone a suspect, at least in my mind. Surrounded by like-minded people who are heavily invested in the literature that Malcom describes as ‘Eight Perfect Murders’ meaning unsolvable crimes, anyone could have been the culprit and this is what I loved most about this story, the constant guessing and wondering who was behind the mysterious murders and what was the connection!
I listened to this on audio and I must say that Mr. Graham Halstead did this novel such justice! His pacing and delivery are extraordinary and as a rule, I’m not a fan of male narrators doing female characters voices – it’s generally cringe-worthy in my opinion but Mr. Halstead did a stellar job in this area as well. Once again, Peter Swanson has delivered an original and compelling book, putting him high on my favorite authors list. Well done, Mr. Swanson, well done!
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