File under: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????? I don't know what was going through this author's head, but what he's done here is absolutely unforgivable. Luckily I picked up the cheap paperback edition, because this book got tossed more than once across the room, something I do when I am so utterly frustrated with what I'm reading and don't want to scream.
Since I don't read much in the way of modern crime fiction these days, trust me, the premise has to be out there enough to capture my attention, and that is what drew me to this book. I reprint here the back-cover blurb:
"Years ago Malcolm Kershaw wrote a list of his 'Eight Favorite Murders' for his Old Devils mystery bookshop blog. Among others, it included those from Agatha Christie's The A.B.C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Now, just before Christmas, Malcolm finds himself at the heart of an investigation -- as an FBI agent believes someone may be re-enacting each of the murders on his list."
Oh, I thought, this sounds really good, and with the mention of the older crime novels I was hooked. Then I started reading and nearly choked. Some seventeen pages in, Malcolm's old blog post was offered in its entirety, with each of the eight books not only summarized (which is okay), but the plot reveals given away (which is not okay). To make matters worse, as we get more into this story, the author decides to go further, giving away all of the show on each of the eight "perfect murders," and he's not quite done. He goes on to spoil other classics, including (and this is truly an act of anathema), Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.