Eight Perfect Murders- Book Review

Hello all! Finished listening to Peter Swanson’s Eight Perfect Murders. This is the first time I tried reading Swanson’s book and here is my review!

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, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History.

But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore 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. The 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.

  • Series: Malcolm Kershaw
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (March 3, 2020)
  • Genre:- Psychological Thriller
Peter Swanson

Peter Swanson is the author of five novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.

The title appealed me and so I decided to try this book out.

Malcolm Kershaw owns a bookstore called The Old Devil’s Bookstore. He gets a surprise visit from an FBI agent named Gwen who is investigating some unsolved murder cases that is apparently based on the list of genre’s unsolvable murder stories titled as “Eight Perfect Murders” written by Mal himself in a blog, long time ago. A killer is out there who is seemingly copying that list. Is Mal himself in danger? Who is that guy?

So anyway, I will list out my thoughts here.

  • The writing was good. There was no doubt about it. But some parts, I found some repetition of the same thing again and again.
  • It was interesting at the beginning but I got bored towards the end.
  • The Eight Perfect Murders are based on the books like Agatha Christie’s ABC Murders Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers in the Train. Though I am a mystery fan, I am not much of a historical mystery fan and the only ones I read historical mysteries is Agatha Christie. However, good news is you don’t actually need to read those books to understand the story as Malcolm, who is the narrator is explaining the story.
  • Though there were twists, none of those twists were surprising or “oh god!” that type of twist. It didn’t even make me want to read faster but instead, I got bored.
  • It was too predictable, and a bit unrealistic.
  • There were no favorable characters that I could see in this book. I felt many are stoic including the narrator. And they are no appealing to me at all.

This is an OK thriller, but not a type of thriller that I would want to read. I give 2.5 stars actually so it is rounded off to three stars

Poul Anderson Appreciation: Three Stars