Blog Tour: An Extract from Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Today is my slot on the Blog Tour for Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson.

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About the Book

Eight classic murders. A single crime obsessive. Countless thrilling twists.

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?

Published 5th March 2020 by Faber and Faber. 

The Extract

I lived alone on the other side of Charles Street, up the hill in a brownstone attic apartment that was rented to me by a ninety-year- old Boston Brahmin who had no idea of the actual worth of her property. I paid a scandalously low rent and fretted selfishly about the day my landlady would die and pass her property on to one of her more financially astute sons. It normally took me less than ten minutes to get from the bookstore to my apartment, but I was walking against the storm in a pair of shoes with worn- out treads. The snow stung my face, and the wind was bending trees and singing down the empty streets. On Charles I considered checking to see if the Sevens was open for a drink but decided to pop into the cheese and wine shop instead, where I bought myself a six- pack of Old Speckled Hen and a premade ham- and- cheese baguette for my dinner. I had been planning on cooking the pork chop that I’d taken out to defrost that morning, but I was anxious to read through Agent Mulvey’s list that night.

At my apartment building I climbed the unshovelled steps to the heavy front door, made from walnut and with cast- iron door handles. I let myself in after knocking the snow from my shoes. Another tenant, probably Mary Ann, had already sorted the mail and left it on the side table in the foyer. I picked up my damp credit card solicitations while I dripped onto the cracked tile door, then climbed the three flights of stairs to my converted attic space. As always, during the winter months, it was stiflingly hot inside my place. I removed my jacket and sweater, then opened both my windows, one on either side of the slanted walls, just enough so that cold air could seep in. I put five of the beers into my fridge and cracked the sixth. Even though my apartment was a studio, there was enough space for a clearly delineated living room, and I stretched out on the sofa, put my feet up on the coffee table, and began to read through Agent Mulvey’s list. It was organized chronologically, every entry formatted the same way, the header specifying the date, the location, and the name of the victim. Even though it was a summary, dashed out at the last minute, it was composed of complete sentences and read like textbook journalism. Agent Mulvey had probably never received less than an A in her entire academic career. I wondered what had attracted her to the FBI. She came across as someone more suited to academia, an English professor maybe, or a researcher. She reminded me a little of Emily Barsamian, my extremely bookish employee, who couldn’t look me in the eye when we talked. Agent Mulvey wasn’t quite that awkward, just young and inexperienced, maybe. It was impossible for me to not think of Clarice Starling (another bird name) from The Silence of the Lambs. It was where my mind almost always went, to books and movies. It had been that way since I first began to read. And Mulvey, like her fictional counterpart, seemed too tame for the job. It was hard to imagine her whipping a gun from a holster, or aggressively questioning a suspect.

Well, I for one am looking forward to seeing Mulvey prove him wrong! This sounds like a great novel and one I will definitely be looking out for. Will you?



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