Summary and book reviews of Perfect Murder, Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller

Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

The Uncensored Story of the JonBenet Murder and the Grand Jury's Search for the Final Truth

by Lawrence Schiller

Perfect Murder, Perfect Town
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  • First Published:
    Feb 1999, 640 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 1999, 255 pages

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Book Summary

A brilliant portrait of an inscrutable family thrust under the spotlight of public suspicion and an affluent, tranquil city torn apart by a crime it was not prepared to deal with.

Nothing written about the death of JonBenét Ramsey can possibly prepare the reader for the revelations in this book. Here, acclaimed writer Lawrence Schiller reveals for the first time the uncensored true story of the events that unfolded on Christmas night of 1996 and the unthinkable damage suffered by a community in the aftermath. This gripping, definitive account finally answers the question: What happened in the town of Boulder, Colorado?

Perfect Murder, Perfect Town tells the story of a city at war with itself: the bitter struggle between John and Patsy Ramsey and local law enforcement; the clash between the District Attorney and the Boulder police; and the tabloid media that has taken upon itself the responsibility of issuing blame. The reader is drawn into the maelstrom of the heated arguments and rapid-fire events surrounding the investigation--the anguish, the blunders, the rivalries, the jealousies, and the peripheral victims on every side.

As he did in American Tragedy, Lawrence Schiller thoroughly re-creates every aspect of this complex case in a powerful, spellbinding story drawn from recorded interviews with investigators, prosecutors, law enforcement members and their confidants, and members of the Ramsey family themselves. He uncovers the mysteries that have bewildered the nation for more than two years. Why were the Ramseys, the target of the investigation, able to obtain knowledge of critical evidence in the case and control the direction of a police inquiry? Can the answer to the murder be found in the pen and writing pad used for the ransom note? Was it possible for an intruder to have killed JonBenét that night? And what did the Ramseys tell the police and the District Attorney in more than twenty hours of questioning?

Beyond these revelations and hundreds more, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town is a brilliant portrait of an inscrutable family thrust under the spotlight of public suspicion and an affluent, tranquil city torn apart by a crime it was not prepared to deal with. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, this is a tour de force that will be read for years to come.

Excerpt
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

Do roses know their thorns can hurt?" JonBénet asked me that one morning. I was the landscaper at the Ramseys' home during the last two years of her life, and it was the kind of question I'd learned to expect from her.

I remember how intelligent JonBenét was. That's why I never talked to her as if she were just a little kid. I spoke to her pretty much as I would to an adult, the way I'm talking to you now. We would discuss evolution, the natural mutations that occur in plants, animals, even people.

So when she asked me about thorns, I told her, "They're a rose's shield. They allow roses to survive. They keep away animals who might eat them."

She would follow me all over the yard, finding something to do wherever I was working. I was happy to talk with her, and would answer her questions about anything and everything. All the topics you'd call natural science seemed to interest her.
"What is a ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times

[D]oes Lawrence Schiller...have any idea who killed the 6-year-old daughter of John and Patsy Ramsey. No. Like the rest of us he hasn't a clue. Or rather, like the Boulder Colo. police, has has 1,038 clues....Her murder and its aftermath, he argues in this somewhat pasted-together book, has diminished us all.

Rocky Mountain News

Impressive….Perfect Murder is an avalanche of information with details galore….Provides all that readers could want to know about the JonBenét killing and investigation…Admirably objective…one of the nation's most vexing unsolved murders.

New York Daily News

The story that Schiller tells sets the crime scene, identifies the cast and escorts readers along the twisting path of the investigation.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Like Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Schiller's Perfect Murder, Perfect Town will…be considered a…classic.

Reader Reviews

Melissa Hasberry

This book was very excellent and gave very good details he lets the world know what was going on on their sid of the world.

theresa santa fe

truth itself can never really be known
The spirit of Schiller's perfect murder, perfect town seems to be one of all perspectives are valid, as if a real life murder didn't take place for which one of more people are responsible. It lacks intellectual scrutiny, as if Schiller were saying ...   Read More

Heather Davis
Text I completly disliked the book because it only points out that the Ramsey's had problems and that they were the killers. The family is like everyother one in America but it is also not like everyother family in America because they lost a special...   Read More

Anonymous
C Gauntlett
I can't understand why Douglas, the expert on crime scene profiling supports the Ramsey's. I read the book to believe that all other FBI profilers where able to pin point the crime on a family member. I have lost all respect for Douglas. ...   Read More

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