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Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: The Uncensored Story of the JonBenet Murder and the Grand Jury's Search for the Truth

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  3,001 ratings  ·  128 reviews
In Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller thoroughly recreates every aspect of the complex case of the death of JonBenét Ramsey. 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 couldn't handle, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town uncovers the mysteries that have bewildere ...more
Paperback, 832 pages
Published October 18th 1999 by HarperTorch (first published February 1st 1999)
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3.69  · 
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 ·  3,001 ratings  ·  128 reviews


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Rebecca McNutt
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Much like the infamous "Boy in the Box" case, the tragic story of JonBenet Ramsey has gripped the nation. In actuality these cold cases in the US featuring missing/murdered children occur a lot - I suspect many of those cases remain cold because in many cases it's a child abuse thing and the relatives/guardians of those children don't want these cases to remain open - but JonBenet's case has been sensationalized the world over, both because the Ramsey Family was fairly affluent and not at all wh ...more
Stewart Summers
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Schiller writes a 600+ page book on the JonBenet murder and at the end says he has no idea who killed her.

He doesn't even give a hypothetical scenario. His non-committal summation reads as if he was more concerned about not being hit with a law suit from the "killer" for slander.

If you are interested in reading about this case, I would say to look elsewhere.

There are websites with the same, if not more information.

Susan
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this crime did not get as much coverage in the UK as it obviously did in the States, I was aware of the murder of six year old JonBenet Ramsey – although I knew few of the details. This is a fairly lengthy book which delves into the case and concentrates on the investigation into the murder.

Six year old JonBenet was discovered missing from her bed the morning after Christmas Day, 1996, when her mother Patsy discovered a rambling ransom note on the stairs. Despite the note saying her dau
...more
Ben Loory
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I had a deadline recently and so spent about 9000 hours obsessively reading everything available on the internet about the Ramsey case. Then once I'd read all that, I bought and read this book, which contains much less than everything on the internet. I think I learned one or two little things-- a mysterious phone call from "John" to a hardware store about Patsy Ramsey's credit card bill (which turned out to have been made by a tabloid reporter), an interesting tidbit about the professor who did ...more
Alyce Mickell
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it
A loooong book. I forced myself to read all of it even though I knew there wouldn't be any resolution in the end. I guess I picked it up for the same reason most people do. I wanted to learn as much as I could about this unsolved case, and see if I could draw my own conclusions. I did learn a few things that I did not know before reading it, but most surprising were the grand missteps taken by the Boulder PD in the hours and days after the murder. I would not recommend this book to anyone who do ...more
Dennis Littrell
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
Monsters or monstrously unlucky?

This is a book about three distinct, yet intimately interrelated stories, told as one. First, there is the story of the murder of JonBenét Ramsey; second, the story of the investigation of that murder and the antagonism between the Boulder Police Department and the District Attorney's office; and third, the media coverage of these events.

I think Schiller does a workman-like job on all three, but for readers primarily interested in the story of the murder of JonBen
...more
Bob Mayer
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Now that we know the Grand Jury voted to indict, it changes everything. I was actually on a jury, coming out of the courthouse in Boulder when the DA announced there would be no indictment. The way he phrased it made it sound as if that was from the Grand Jury.

The Ramsey's destroyed a lot of lives in Boulder, and elsewhere. Looking at the fresh evidence, and the old evidence, it's very likely their son killed her and then they covered it up. Many people paid the price of that coverup. A tragedy
...more
Xanthi
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Running over 600 pages long, I knew this book would either be a detailed though riveting read or it would be a hard slog. Unfortunately, for me, it was the latter.
Naturally, it was interesting to read about the events, the evidence found, the investigations, the interviews, the media, and the prime suspects (the parents), the city of Boulder, etc. but there was by far too much detail , in general. Also, a lot of the book was dedicated to the issue of the hostilities between the police and the DA
...more
Jim
Nov 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, non-fiction
I enjoyed shouting "Ghoul!" at Scott as he tried to read this surreptitiously in the Lufthansa business lounge in Denver. But it is a good book, if verging on the obsessive in terms of the detail sought out. If someone farted in a restaurant and it had made a sound vaguely similar to someone grumbling "JonBenet", it would have been reverently noted here. Worse, the police would have followed it up in an effort to divert the criticism of their early handling of this case. It seems almost every ef ...more
Amber
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Obsessive people. Reading masochists.
I got 57% of the way through this before calling it quits. I love true crime stories, and length of book isn't daunting for a speed reader, but this book is frankly a bore after the first 200 pages. As one other apt reviewer put it, If someone farted within the vicinity of someone who knew Jonbenet, it's documented here. The constant asides and first-person recollections detract from the narrative utterly and completely. Not suited for someone reading multiple books at once due to lack of chapte ...more
Sydney
Aug 14, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Sydney by: Erin Drew Kent
I am officially dumping this book after just over 200 pages. I just can't get into it. I feel like I have to keep notes just to keep all the key players straight.
It's no wonder this crime was never solved. I can't decide if the author is trying to illustrate how seriously messed up the investigation was. Talk about a bunch of bungling idiots! And it doesn't paint a pretty picture of the media either. As a former journalist myself, I'm pretty horrified at some of the tactics described in this boo
...more
Christy
May 01, 2011 rated it liked it
832 pgs. I give this 3 out of 5 stars. Seemed to go off topic too much. Went into detail on how the victim was found, the parents, some of the suspects, as well as the tabloids who posed as "friends" "potential church members" etc in order to gain info on the victims family and/or anything to do with the crime. This a disappointing read b/c it seemed to go topic too much telling the reader how the town of Boulder grew into the town that it is today, where the investigators come from, what they d ...more
Anne
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well, it's taken over 2 years of perseverance, and bite-sized chunks on and off was the only way for me to do it - but I'm so glad I did! This is a meticulously presented (an unkind reviewer might say "tediously") catalogue of this tragic case, the dramatis personae, the investigation and the behind the scenes politics involved. Those seeking sensationalism will be bored to death within 50 pages. Those interested in facts should stick with. Just don't expect any hypothesis at the end of it: some ...more
Samantha Mitchell
Sep 24, 2016 rated it liked it
I didn't know anything about the JonBenet murder, and wanted a Serial-type story to take me away. This book was VERY long - and to be honest I skimmed a lot - but for those who want to get invested and familiar with ALL the details; they definitely don't leave anything out! After 1000 pages, naturally, we still don't know who committed the crime (always a let down, but fair). It's safe to say that there was some gross negligence from the police and the lack of co-operation from the family comes ...more
Terri
There is so much of this case that will never be understood. But it was the incompetency of the Denver police to secure the crime scene and avoid evidence contamination that led to much of the media speculations at the time, as well as the Ramsey's behavior. They ACTED guilty. At least of being afraid they could be held accountable. So of course, they became accountable in the public's eyes anyway. This book does a good job of pointing out what went wrong in the investigation and how things seem ...more
Chris Miller
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really hope this is the most insufferably overly-detailed yet interminably boring book in the genre of "revealing dirty truths", because if it isn't, there exists one that is worse, and I might accidentally buy it and try to read it. Nonetheless it gets two stars for being at least factual in between the lengthy interviews and statements that add exactly zero information except that yet another neighbour thought they were a nice family.
Alison Strachan
Jun 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored!!!

I know that the Jon Benet Ramsey case was never solved, but the author could have at least spun a THEORY on what he thought might have happened. Instead, this book was a chronological spewing of facts on the case from the week of the crime until present. It was nothing I didn't already know and a huge disappointment.

My sincere apologies to all members of my book club who endured this read!!!
Amanda Meehan
Feb 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a bore!
And no real theory as to what happened; I wanted theories!!!!! Crazy out there thought provoking theories!!!! Back to the world of Internet conspiracy cover ups for me!
Ellis
Jan 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book was sooooooo long, I found it quite boring actually.. I did finish it, but it took my quite a while!
dejah_thoris
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Schiller does a great job presenting all sides of the case. Now I don't know what to think.
Elaine Wakely
Nov 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Will this book ever end?

I gave up - I'd rather watch a documentary or read a shortened version of events with some analysis... not just a fact/timeline spewing.
Kris
Jan 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
I find it AMAZING that someone could take such a fascinating case and make it so torturously boring. Pass.
Erin
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I began reading this because the pickings are slim around here and I have a slight obsession with articles about cold cases. Well, maybe more than slight. The details of the crime were just as horrible (Actually, moreso with how in depth you learn about what someone did to her - it's hard to fathom such brutality towards a child and very disturbing to read.) as I had thought I remembered, having been a teenager at the time and not really following it but absorbing the media frenzy anyway. To som ...more
Carla JFCL
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fascinated by this case and have read several books about it. I found this one to be the "best" in the sense that I think it's the most comprehensive (and, in fact, exhaustive; it takes a long time to plow through this one.)

One of the more interesting things about this case is the fact that everyone involved blames someone else, including the authors of the various books that have been written; in some cases they even criticize each others' books. I'll just say that there's enough shoddy inv
...more
Hope
Nov 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about true crime--reading detailed descriptions of awful things makes me feel sleazy and slightly guilty. However, this book opens with the horrifyingly weird circumstances of JonBenet's abduction, so I found it difficult to quit, even when I wanted to. And I did want to--the book is exhaustively researched---and exhausting to read on an emotional level. The investigation was such a giant bureaucratic mess that I wanted to reach through the book and the shake the participan ...more
Brittany
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Although I appreciate the author's efforts to present an unbiased and complete record of the Jonbenet Ramsey murder and investigation, I felt he had too much of an agenda to properly to so.

There are a lot of facts in this book. But the author also ignores a lot to suit his purpose. I felt the author sided too much with the DA office and the media. Many of the newspaper and magazine articles are unnecessary and the ones provided are heavily influenced.

I try to read everything about a subject I'm
...more
Jamie Rose
Feb 17, 2014 rated it did not like it

On the cover blah...

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

I don't think so.

This has taken me forever to read, I mean months - because quite honestly it isn't very good.

The author interviewed just about everyone involved. Then wrote it down without really making an attempt to craft it into a readable book.

I don't read a lot of true crime but this really didn't seem to be well e
...more
Kim
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
This book is long! It is full of details which is great in true crime however some of these details had nothing to do with the case. This book is equally about the city and politics of boulder which is probably why it is titled the way it is. I did learn some new stuff to the case and am so torn by the way it was handled wondering if different and earlier interviews as well as evidence that wasn't collected in time could have resulted in a different outcome. Sorry for all involved and the terrib ...more
Anna
May 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Dear God. So many pages and at the end you learn nothing that hasn't been put more succinctly than what you can find on the Internet about the case, and Schillinger makes no effort to even lean towards a hypotheses about who the killer was. Total waste of my life. If you like this sort of thing, and like is a strange term for it, then I recommend you spend time on the unsolved mystery subreddit, rather than slog through this monstrosity.
Shelley
Feb 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Okay. Another on my "True Crime" spree. Not really worth it. I lived through most of this and the book didn't add a whole lot that I didn't already know. It goes in to way too much detail about the inner workings of the Boulder police vs the DA's office, etc, etc, etc. Too many characters, too much detail. It does make you understand, however, why ppl are still enthralled by this case and why the case was never solved...
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The ubiquitous Lawrence Schiller was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, and grew up in San Diego. After graduating from Pepperdine College, he went to work for Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post as a photojournalist. His photographic abilities, both technical and artistic, laid the foundation for what has become nothing less than an astonishing career.

Schiller first made his name by photographing
...more
“Evils that befall the world are not nearly so often caused by bad men as they are by good men who are silent when an opinion must be voiced.” 3 likes
“have lifted the window-well grate and climbed through the broken window to the basement and still leave a” 1 likes
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