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Review: Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Title: Eight Perfect Murders
Author: Peter Swanson
Year published: 2020
Category: Adult fiction (mystery)
Pages: 288 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA (MA and NH)

SummaryYears 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 Deathtrap, A. A. Milne's The 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 The 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.

Review: I think this book is fun (yes, a murder mystery that is fun) because it involves so much about books. The main character owns/works in a bookshop, he writes a blog about books, and the murderer is basing their crimes on famous murder mysteries (as Sue from Book by Book points out: be warned that the plots of these 8 books are spoiled if you haven't read them). It's a book that talks about books, plots, authors, bookstores, and more.

This book reads as if the author is British. There is something about the voice that felt unAmerican to me. I can't tell you exactly what it is and I'd be interested to know if anyone else felt that way.

Anyway, I enjoyed this book as much for all the other book mentions as for this book itself. The plot is clever, the main character likable, and the twists and turns make sense by the end. As with any good mystery, there is manipulation, a bending of truth, and the reader is never sure whom we can trust.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Alphabet (Title)--E
  • Literary Escapes--Massachusetts and New Hampshire
  • Popsugar--quote from a favorite author on the cover or Amazon page (Lisa Gardner)

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