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A Perfect Crime [Hardcover]

Peter Abrahams
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 8 1998
In this gripping novel of suspense, acclaimed author Peter Abrahams gives us an explosive thriller of lust and retribution, desire and accountability, murder and reckoning--set in motion by an illicit love that ticks like a time bomb. A master at creating menacing intrigue and shocking reversals, Abrahams has indeed devised A Perfect Crime.

When an adulterous affair is revealed, a devious mind begins to construct the perfect, flawless crime. No loose ends. Everything considered: motive, means, opportunity, evidence, suspects, alibis. The perpetrator must remain an invisible presence, seeing the plot through to its chilling conclusion, manipulating the players like chess pieces in an intricate, deadly game.

The unfaithful wife.

With her no-nonsense business savvy and exquisite eye for acquisition, Francie is a rising star in the Boston art world. But her personal life is about to take a decidedly dark turn. . . .

The cheating lover.

A virile and charismatic radio psychologist, Ned hosts a popular show poised on the brink of syndication. Though married and successful, he has one fatal weakness. . . .

The loyal friend.

Anne, a vulnerable and trusting wife and mother, desperately needs to confide in someone. Unfortunately, some secrets aren't meant to be shared. . . .

The jealous husband.

Exeter, first in his class. Harvard, summa in economics. Now out of work and falling fast, Roger conceives a brilliant, violent plan that could put him back on top. . . .

The ultimate act of revenge.

In Peter Abrahams's stunning new thriller, four lives hang in precarious balance--as a cunning mastermind prepares their roles in A Perfect Crime.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Though he is a very smart man (his IQ is 181, "on a bad day"), Roger Cullingwood is remarkably unperceptive. It takes months for him to realize that his wife Francie is involved with another man. But once he recognizes the affair, he hatches a plot to kill her--the perfect crime of the title--in less time than it takes him to finish the London Times crossword puzzle. It makes perfect sense that Roger wouldn't dream of doing the dirty deed himself; there's a paroled killer conveniently on hand, an easily manipulated psychotic named Whitey Truax. It's when Anne Franklin, the wife of Francie's lover, blunders into the murder scene Roger has so carefully contrived that the novel begins to get interesting. There are a few diversions to entertain the reader en route to the bloody denouement, including a couple of lively tennis matches. In one of the book's many coincidences, Francie ends up partnered with her lover's wife in a championship tournament. The sex is better than the violence, but what Abrahams excels at is pace; you could start and finish A Perfect Crime on the New York to Los Angeles redeye and still have time for a nap before the plane lands. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

A Boston woman's ill-advised affair with a talk-show host leads to murder and mayhem in this initially absorbing but somewhat contrived thriller from the author of The Fan and Lights Out. Art critic Francie Cullingwood is the beautiful, sophisticated and dissatisfied protagonist who seeks sexual satisfaction outside her stale marriage. Her lover is Ned DeMarco, a handsome, touchy-feely psychiatrist who hosts a radio show for the emotionally forlorn. Their passionate arrangement begins to unravel when Roger, Francie's brilliant but angry husband (a Harvard summa who's been fired from his job as a securities analyst), suspects her adultery and hires a hit man, Whitey Truax, to exact revenge on his spouse. Truax, it turns out, is a serial killer with a very short fuse. The tension rises as Abrahams cuts between the plot participants: Ned's wife, Anne, becomes Francie's tennis partner, making Francie aware of the damage the affair is causing, while Ned desperately clings to their involvement and Roger plots his bizarre campaign of retribution. The initial showdown between Whitey and his potential victims takes place at the adulterous couple's love nest, a New Hampshire cottage that quickly becomes a house of horrors when Whitey suspects Roger of double-crossing him, and runs amok on a killing spree that eventually leads back to Boston. Abrahams does his best work in a series of well-crafted early scenes that effectively convey the different levels of emotional duplicity among the protagonists, but the actual murders are strictly formulaic. While Francie, Ned and Anne are well-drawn, Abrahams's portrayals of both Roger and his minion lack dimension; they are both plot devices whose ludicrous partnership never carries the ring of credibility. Even so, as he explores Francie's emotional terrain in the wake of tragedy, Abrahams will keep readers very much engaged. Agent, Molly Friedrich; 100,000 first printing.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST LAID PLANS OFTEN GO AWRY... Aug. 4 2013
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a page turning thriller with a host of quirky, interesting characters. When two unhappy marriages give rise to the adulterous relationship between the husband in one marriage and a wife in another, all hell eventually breaks loose, and murder is the end result.

When Frances enters into an adulterous affair with Ned, a radio show psychologist, little does she know where it will lead. When Roger, her brilliant, though socially clueless husband, discovers her perfidy, he sets out to construct the perfect murder. Enlisting the aid of an ex-con, who initially has no idea he is a pawn in a murder plot, thinks quickly go awry, as the ex-con proves to have his own ideas about things.

This is an excellent thriller, laced with humorous moments. Tautly written, with fairly well-fleshed characters, despite it being a plot driven book, it should appeal to those who enjoy mysteries and thrillers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Novel of Coincidences and Twists Sept. 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Perfect Crime is a great psychological thriller that races away at the beginning but becomes slightly derailed at the end. The basic premise is: Francie and Ned are having an affair. Francie's vile husband Roger finds out about it and plans to kill them both. However, the twists and coincidences that occur are startling and exciting and make this thriller into something very original.
I especially loved the backdrop to this thriller. The weather is always cold and icy and the house where Francie and Ned meet in centred on an island and can only be reached by rowing across in a small boat. These elements provide great atmosphere and originality. Roger is diabolical and I enjoyed the contrast between how he viewed himself (clever, self assured) and the way others saw him (strange nutcase!).
Overall A Perfect Crime is a competent thriller with short sections and snappy dialogue. The characters are well developed although certain aspects seemed unlikely such as Roger thinking he'd be able to control Whitey Truax so perfectly that he could commit the perfect murder where he couldn't be implicated. However, this book is filled with suspense and surprises, so you'd be wise to give it a go. I'm glad I did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed reaction - exciting but badly plotted Feb. 24 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Summary: an average thriller. The other book I read by Abrahams, The Tutor, was far, far superior.
Let's start with the plus: the book was exciting and definitely an entertaining read.
The minuses: I counted three implausible coincidences that mar the story (see below -- to be avoided if you haven't read the book). The resolution is not completely satisfactory either.
Plotting mistakes: 1) the phone call to the radio show which Roger somehow overhears; 2) the lover meeting the wife at her tennis club -- couldn't this have been arranged better?; 3) the lover discovering the cheating husband is actually cheating on her -- the whole scene is very implausible. What is frustrating is that each of these developments could have been avoided pretty easily in my opinion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read Aug. 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a perfect novel about cheaters and what happens when they are found out, but with a twist of an ending.
Easily readable with a smooth plot, likeable characters, and a snappy little moral tale about what happens when we betray the one we love.
A perfect summer-time read on the beach, in the house, or out loud at the bridge club meeting!!!
Two thumbs way way up!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too many coincidences March 1 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Francie and Roger Cullingwood are drifting apart. Roger has been looking for a job for the past year after being fired, Francie is unhappy with her marriage and she has been having an affair with radio psychologist, Ned DeMarco. She is also having doubts with her affair since meeting Ned's wife, who through unforeseen circumstances and coincidence winds up being Francie's tennis partner in an important tournament. Roger finds Francie's love nest and he has decided that he wants her dead but just like any other criminal, he does not want to get caught.
After doing some thorough research he decides to manipulate Whitey Truax into committing a crime in which his wife will turn out dead. Just like any other book things do not turn up as planned and all of Roger's scheming have gone done the tubes into a predictable conclusion. Roger thinks he is too smart and that he has planned for every eventuality and this book shows that is not entirely true.
In reading this novel I was expecting a story similar to A SIMPLE PLAN by Scott Smith. This story has too many coincidences that tempted me to stop reading the book. This is my first Peter Abrahams novel and I will try to read him again in the future. He does a good job with characterization but to me the plot fizzled. There were some loose ends that were not clarified and there were at least two characters in the book that I found to be redundant to the storyline. I do not think removing them would have made any difference but that is just how I feel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A sly and suspenseful tour de force Oct. 29 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In "A Perfect Crime" Peter Abrahams gives us several well-developed characters, then sets them on a collision course that is as unpredictable as it is inevitable. We know the scenario can only lead to disaster, but what kind? And who will be the ultimate victim(s)? The pace picks up, the complications multiply, and the plot switches gears often enough to keep readers guessing till the end. A really well-written story.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A PERFECT BLACK COMEDY
There are some really funny scenes in the middle of this book that come out of nowhere, but are so well done, they make this Abrahams book a real winner. Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2001 by Michael Butts
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, but not overwhelming
Revolving around a brilliant man's desire to punish his unfaithful wife, it's not really a new story--but there's nothing inherently wrong with stories that have been told before... Read more
Published on July 17 2001 by Thomas A. Baker
3.0 out of 5 stars A PERFECT FAUXPAUX
The way I see it, the genius with the 181 IQ(on a bad day), was actually the village idiot, and the only really good person in the book was unjustly treated. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2001 by Kenri A. Mugleston
5.0 out of 5 stars Won't be able to put this one down!
This plot took many turns and twists. The characters were well-developed and believable. I couldn't put this book down and was sad to see it end. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Love's Labors Lost
Others have noted the writer's beautifully crafted prose, exquisitely drawn characterizations, brilliantly rendered sequences, wonderful ear for dialogue. Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2000 by mayday
4.0 out of 5 stars good
Good book! Fast paced with twisting plot! I highly recommend!
Published on Sept. 28 2000 by trainee jackie
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!!
I read a lot of thriller/crime novels, and this is probably in the top 20 of all time! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and like his writing style. Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2000 by J. T. Leveque
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