Plano Reads: Eight Perfect Murders

Read our review of Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, a Mystery Book Club pick for February 18, 2021.

You can join us to virtually discuss Eight Perfect Murders on February 18 at 7 p.m. using Zoom! Register online here.

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Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Currently available through the PPL Catalog as well as OverDrive and the Libby app.

Description from OverDrive:

From the hugely talented author of Before She Knew Him comes a chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders.

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. 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.

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Eight Perfect Murders pays homage to many mystery classics before and is the perfect book for those who love the mystery-thriller genre. However, if you aren’t up-to-date on your mystery booklist, you might want to skip this read because there are plenty of spoilers throughout. See below for a list of books discussed in Eight Perfect Murders.

Malcolm, as the owner of an independent mystery bookstore, is a mystery book connoisseur. The FBI seeks out Malcom when a blog post of his (a list of books with the best and most difficult to solve murder plots) seems to have a connection to recent murders. Through many twists and turns including a deeper dive into Malcolm’s history, the outcome is a surprising who, what, and why that should please any mystery-loving reader.

Maggie, Librarian
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Peter Swanson is the author of six novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year; and his most recent, Eight Perfect Murders. 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 EIGHT PERFECT MURDERS BOOK LIST

The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne (eBook)

Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles

The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie (large print, audiobook, eBook, and eAudiobook)

Double Indemnity by James Cain

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith (audiobook, eBook)

The Drowner by John MacDonald (not available via PPL)

Deathtrap by Ira Levin (not available via PPL)

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (eBook, eAudiobook)

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Read-alike titles available on OverDrive, the Libby app, and through PPL:

Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood (eBook)

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (eBook)

The Third to Die by Allison Brennan (eBook)

The Poison Garden by A.J. Banner

The Deep by Alma Katsu


Join us to virtually to discuss Eight Perfect Murders on February 18 at 7 p.m. using Zoom! Register online here.

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