#BookReview: RULES FOR PERFECT MURDERS by Peter Swanson @FaberBooks

Rules For Perfect MurdersPublication: 5th March 2020 – Faber & Faber

If you want to get away with murder, play by the rules

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?


Who doesn’t enjoy a book about books? I adore them and if you add the suspense and the shocking revelations that you won’t see coming you have the new gripping novel by Peter Swanson.

How are a bookshop owner and a serial killer connected? The Old Devils is a mystery bookshop in Boston. One of its owners, Malcolm Kershaw is an expert on crime novels and a few years ago he published on a blog a list of novels depicting the perfect murder. The list included works from Agatha Christie, Donna Tart, James M. Cain, Patricia Highsmith and more. One day, a FBI agent knocks on his door because it seems that someone is using his list to commit the perfect murders. Soon, Malcolm finds himself deep in the investigation, chasing a killer before he strikes again.

The story is told in first person by the protagonist, Malcolm Kershaw. This is a brilliant character. It is well-developed, multi-layered, and as his past slowly unravels he takes you completely by surprise.

Every bookworm out there will love this novel. I already made a list of all the novels mentioned in the story that I want to read and there are many. The plot unravels slowly and it is twisty and unique. You never know what to expect and the surprises just keep coming and coming until the final shocking revelation that made me gasp in surprise and say a bit too aloud in a train full of people “OMG! REALLY?!?”

I found myself racing through the story and, even though I told myself to slow down and take a break, I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know how it was going to end and that was quite an ending.

Would I recommend Rules for Perfect Murder? Of course I would, over and over again. It is thrilling, engaging, clever, and completely addictive, the perfect read for all crime readers out there.

A huge thank you to Faber & Faber and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this delightful novel.

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