Sunday, March 08, 2020

Sixteen of the most perfect murders in crime fiction

Peter Swanson's new novel is Eight Perfect Murders.

The murders of title refer to a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders compiled years ago by bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw, 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.

At CrimeReads, Swanson tagged eight more books which nearly made the original list, including:
The Ax (1997) by Donald E. Westlake

In this addictive (and disturbing) novel, Westlake puts the reader into the head of murderer Burke Devore, a laid-off executive from a paper mill, who systematically begins to kill his competition in order to position himself for a new job. With an untraceable gun he lies in wait for his victims like a hunter in the woods, knowing that there is one moment in the day when these men will be vulnerable.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue