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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Very Clever

    **This book is also known as Eight Perfect Murders** Any book-blogging, list-making lovers might want to reconsider, if they are thinking about devising a top ten of their favourite crime fiction novels! Unreliable narrator and bookseller Malcolm Kershaw runs and part owns The Old Devil's Bookstore specialising in crime fiction, in Boston, Massachusetts. Way back in 2004, Malcolm, now an introverted widower, came up with eight book titles, after quite an agonising ordeal, even going so far as include a couple that he hadn't actually read but had researched the plots, that he included in his blog. These books represented a personal list of the eight perfect murders in crime fiction and they are: The Red House Mystery (1922) A.A. Milne Malice Aforethought (1931) Anthony Berkeley Cox The A.B.C. Murders (1936) Agatha Christie Double Indemnity (1943) James M. Cain Strangers on a Train (1950) Patricia Highsmith The Drowner (1963) John D. MacDonald Deathtrap (1978) Ira Levin The Secret History (1992) Donna Tartt One wintry day, FBI Special Agent Gwen Mulvey shows up at Old Devil's Bookstore and begins to question him about several murders, which could, or not be related to his list. Gwen believes that Malcolm's list is slowly seeping into reality, with a killer progressing their way through it, being guided into committing the perfect murders in actuality. Malcolm becomes embroiled into the investigation, partly to aid the FBI and also maybe as a suspect, and it's fair do's to say he has secrets of his own. Malcolm makes the perfect single narrator; he controls every aspect of the story and I was completely caught up in his tale, eagerly scrolling through the pages to see where I would be taken to next. He incorporates a breadth of knowledge of the mystery genre, and chucks in a number of red herrings, whilst gradually leaking his secrets. For me, Rules for Perfect Murders (aka Eight Perfect Murders) was a celebration and an appreciation of the mystery genre. Keeping pace with Malcolm as he tried to make sense of events and happenings was quite a feat. I had a lot of fun trying to unravel Malcolm’s secrets and figure out the enigma of the eight perfect murders. I loved this clever book and I think those who have a true love for the craft will love Rules for Perfect Murders. I absolutely adored the author's book, 'Before She Knew Him'. Rules for Perfect Murders has made me a fan of Peter Swanson, all over again! Thank you to Peter Swanson, Pigeonhole, Faber and Faber, and NetGalley for the complimentary copy and the opportunity to read this book. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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    4 person found this review helpful

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  • Rules for the perfect murder

    Definitely worth a read. I will be reading another ones of Peter Swansons books

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • great!

    Great setup, clear plot, amazing twists and unexpected reveals, this book is just amazing, would reccommend to 14+

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    0 person found this review helpful

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  • A Perfect Read

    ‘The thing is, and maybe I’m biased by all those years I’ve spent in fictional realms built on deceit, I don’t trust narrators any more than I trust the actual people in my life.’ As some of you may know I’m a total bibliophile and I also love reading crime thrillers, so Rules for Perfect Murders/Eight Perfect Murders (I think it’s a UK/USA difference) sounded right up my street! The book focuses on 8 classic crime thrillers such as Ira Levin’s Death Trap and A. A. Milne's Red House Mystery. I was at a slight disadvantage here as I was only actually familiar with two of them: Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders and Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train. The other ones do have their plots spelt out a number of times throughout the book though, so that doesn’t matter so much although perhaps best to avoid if you don’t want a few spoilers along the way! Rules for Perfect Murders has one of the best uses of an unreliable narrator that I have read. I had started off at about 20% thinking smugly that I knew what the big twist would be at the end only for the author to show his hand early and then the twists just kept coming. It gets to the point where you honestly are unsure what is true or not which was done in a perfect way – not too frustrating and just enough of a reveal each time to keep you off balance. I was a little sad to see that Goodreads has this listed as ‘Malcolm Kershaw #1’ as I don’t think a sequel is needed but the author has clarified that this is a mistake so don’t be fooled – it’s a great standalone story. My main problem with this book was that I actually found it quite unrealistic that even an FBI agent would make a link between these crimes and the plots of the stories. These are not straight up copycat killings and a few of the links are tenuous at best. For example, in the ABC murders the victims are chosen for having alliterated names that match the place they are killed in and the order descends through the alphabet (eg: Alice Ascher killed in Andover then Betty Barnard killed in Bexhill etc). The linked crime in this book however, is that the killer is killing victims with names that link to birds (Jay, Robin etc) and not even in alphabetical order. The other crimes are also oddly linked – I would have perhaps found it more realistic if the author had kept the crimes linked more faithfully to the books. Overall, Rules for Perfect Murders is a perfect read for crime thriller fans and a great homage to the novels that kick-started the popularity in the genre. The narrative techniques displayed are clever and keep you guessing all the way to the end and beyond. Thank you to NetGalley & Faber & Faber for granting my wish and allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Mybe its just me.

    Enjoyed this book but found some parts a little confusing. Eg. When did and how did Steven Clifton die? Maybe its just me.

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