The Perfect Murder: Five Great Mystery Writers Create the Perfect Crime Hardcover – Jul 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
A man named Tim needs help. Seems his rich wife (whom he married only for her money) plans to cut him out of her will; worse, she is having an affair with his best friend. What Tim needs help with is the perfect murder: he wants to kill his wife and make it look as if the boyfriend did it. Since he is something of a perfectionist, Tim wants this crime "so beautiful in construction and so ingenious in practice that it aspires to the condition of art." Seeking counsel from the experts, Tim writes Block, Caudwell, Hillerman, Lovesey and Westlake, and asks each to design him a blueprint for a fail-safe scheme. Each carefully wrought reply in this droll how-to for the discriminating hitman is a small masterpiece of cunning and deception. Count on Westlake and Block for their usual dark humor; Hillerman for his keen sense of human nature; Caudwell and Lovesey for the wry British perspective. And count on every one of them to be very annoyed to find out that he/she was not the only expert consulted. Westlake, for example, observes of Block's plan of attack: "Not merely kitsch, but sordid kitsch." Devotees of the genre will feast on this smorgasbord of treats.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
An amplified reprint from Harper's magazine in which editor/author Hitt, as the wealthy, unhappily married ``Tim,'' puckishly asked five mystery writers--Lawrence Block, Sarah Caudwell, Tony Hillerman, Peter Lovesey, and Donald Westlake--to suggest a fabulous, money-no-object, dramatic means of disposing of his philandering ``wife'' that would incriminate his cuckolding ``best friend.'' Surprisingly, Hitt turns out to be the best writer in the group, Westlake the flattest, and Hillerman and Lovesey the funniest. Their schemes? Lovesey resurrects his jellyfish-in-the- Jacuzzi scenario, which has appeared in at least three previous anthologies; Caudwell costumes hers in Scottish kilt and plaid; Block disguises his as a serial slaying (``Kill the bitch,'' he says, over and over); Hillerman opts for a confessional twist, a dunk in the tub, and poisoned mushrooms as well; and Westlake creates a double identity so that the murderer can be his own alibi. Then Hitt asks the authors to critique each other's schemes. They gleefully attack him and each other. A hilarious means of introducing readers to the mind-set of the hard-boiled, the cozy, the traditional, the antic, and the glib state of the current mystery masterminds, with Hillerman and Lovesey the standouts. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.