BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Eight Perfect Murders’ by Peter Swanson

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it:

‘Eight Perfect Murders’ by Peter Swanson

If you’re a mystery connoisseur, Swanson’s latest will have you running to the vintage section of your bookcase for Christie, John MacDonald, James M. Cain, and Patricia Highsmith.

Malcolm Kershaw, co-owner of Old Devils Bookstore on Beacon Hill in Boston, is contacted by an FBI agent regarding a blog entry he wrote years prior called “Eight Perfect Murders.” His list features only those mysteries where the murder’s utmost priority is to never get caught; no crimes of passion here.

According to FBI agent Gwen, she has discovered three and possibly four copycat killings, each of which mimic the plot of one of the eight books, and she and Malcolm both have personal connections to some of victims.

This recounting itself is superbly plotted, with some unforeseeable twists and a few red herrings. You can really feel Swanson’s love for the old time genre and its expert practitioners.

Quotes: “When we first meet someone, before words are ever spoken, there are already lies and half-truths.”

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