Rules for Perfect Murders

Rules for Perfect Murders


A series of unsolved murders with one thing in common: each of the deaths bears an eerie resemblance to the crimes depicted in classic mystery novels.

The deaths lead FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey to mystery bookshop Old Devils. Owner Malcolm Kershaw had once posted online an article titled 'My Eight Favourite Murders,' and there seems to be a deadly link between the deaths and his list - which includes Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt's The Secret History.

Can the killer be stopped before all eight of these perfect murders have been re-enacted?

Our Review

In all honesty I wasn’t expecting to like Rules for Perfect Murders as much as I did. If asked I would say that the Mystery/Crime genre is my least favourite, but Peter Swanson has gained a fan with this book.

Rules for Perfect Murders was fast-paced and easy to read. It also had me almost gasping with shock on several occasions.


Malcolm Kershaw, the owner of Old Devils mystery bookshop, is contacted one day by FBI agent Gwen Mulvey. Gwen wants his help to solve a series of seemingly unrelated murders which she believes may be based on a blog post he wrote years earlier.

The blog post in question was titled ‘My Eight Favourite Murders’ and contained a list of eight mystery books with what he considered to be perfect murders.

Can they stop the murderer before the list is completed?

The author warns us over and over that as a narrator he is highly unreliable, but I still didn’t get even one of the big twists. In fact, for much of the book I was convinced that Emily was the murderer.

“Disclaimer: while what you are about to read is largely true, I have re-created some events and conversations from memory. A few names and identifying characteristics have changed to protect the innocent.”

The above was on the very first page and was our first warning from the author and there were more to follow.

“If these words are ever read, then I am sure that the reader might have already guessed that I have more to do with these crimes than I’ve been letting on.”

“I don’t trust narrators any more than I trust the actual people in my life. We never get the whole truth, not from anybody.”

One big plus for the book for me is that it has a few lists of books in it and most of them were books I have never heard of. Even though they were Mystery books I would still consider reading some of them.

The main list in the book, the list of eight favourite murders was comprised entirely of books I hadn’t read and mostly of books I haven’t heard of. Some of the books I would like to read since reading this book.

  1. The Red House Mystery – Agatha Christie
  2. Malice Afterthought – Anthony Berkeley Cox
  3. The A.B.C murders – Agatha Christie
  4. Double Indemnity – James M Cain
  5. Strangers on a Train – Patricia Highsmith
  6. The Drowner – John D. Macdonald
  7. Death Trap  - Ira Levin
  8. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

I loved how this book kept me guessing the entire time and I would definitely recommend it.




Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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