Halloween has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean murder mystery books aren’t in season still. Fall and winter are the perfect seasons to read murder mystery books, but you might want to think twice about reading “The Perfect Wife” and “The Turn of the Key” to get your murder mystery fix.

"The Perfect Wife" features small town drama and hidden secrets. Jessie and her new husband must navigate these problems in a new town.
Murder mysteries are a great way to spend a quiet fall afternoon. Photo credit: Rebecca Gonzales

“The Perfect Wife” by Blake Pierce: 3/5

Jessie Hunt is a criminal profiler in training who just moved to a brand new town with her new husband, Kyle. Jessie is close to completing her master’s degree in forensic psychology, and her husband just got a promotion that has brought them a lot of extra money.

Moving to a new town seems like a huge new start for Jessie, and she feels as if she’s put her dark childhood behind her. But as the days and weeks pass in this new town, something starts to feel off.

For starters, all their neighbors seem to be hiding secrets, and the prestigious yacht club her husband wants to join is full of cheating spouses and troubling rules.

On top of it all, Jessie must complete a practicum at a psychiatric hospital in order to finish her degree. The patient she is interviewing for this task is a notorious serial killer who seems to know an awful lot about Jessie’s past and present life.

Jessie must figure out if she has found out a disturbing conspiracy in the town or if it’s all just in her head, and she must also figure out how this killer seems to know everything about her.

"The Perfect Wife" features small town drama and hidden secrets. Jessie and her new husband must navigate these problems in a new town.
"The Perfect Wife" features small town drama and hidden secrets. Jessie and her new husband must navigate these problems in a new town. Photo credit: Rebecca Gonzales

This book was fine; it wasn’t super good, but it also wasn’t super bad. There was a lot going on with the plot, which I thought made the book muddled and chaotic.

Focusing on just one of the major plot points for this book would’ve helped the narrative immensely. I found both the town’s secrets and the serial killer plot points to be very interesting on their own, but when smashed together into one book they become muddled and less interesting.

It was a pretty average book; I gave it a 3 out of 5. I was entertained through the story, but I probably wouldn’t read it again. It’s the first in a series of books, so I might be inclined to pick up the sequel, but I’m not dying to find out what happens.

“The Turn of the Key” by Ruth Ware: 3/5

A child has died, and Rowan Caine is in prison awaiting her trial for murder.

Months before her life turned into an absolute nightmare, Rowan had stumbled upon an ad for a job — a really good job at that. It was for a live-in nanny, and the pay was overwhelmingly good. She wasn’t necessarily looking for a job like this, but how can she pass up such a good offer?

Rowan arrives at Heatherbrae House in the Scottish Highlands and instantly falls in love. The house is surrounded by beautiful green pastures, the house is a “smart-house” and the family seems to be picture-perfect. What could go wrong?

The answer is everything.

Rowan writes to her lawyer while she’s in prison, explaining her side of the story and how the events unfolded that led her to being put on trial for murder.

Rowan claims she’s innocent. Sure, she’s made mistakes in the past, like lying on her resume, but she would never murder anyone, let alone a child.

Nothing was as it seemed in the interview. She was left alone with the children and no other adults for weeks on end, she was constantly under surveillance by the cameras in the “smart-house” and weird things were always happening in the house. The technology seemed to always be malfunctioning, lights would randomly turn on and off, the stereo system would turn on booming music during the dead of night, waking everyone in the house and the children were nothing like the angelic children she had met in the interview.

But even with all of this, Rowan still claims she didn’t commit the murder. But can she really be trusted? And if she’s not the one who committed the murder, then who did?

Murder mystery&squot;s are a great way to spend a quiet fall afternoon. "The Turn of the Key" features main character Jessie in her new job as a nanny.
"The Turn of the Key" features main character Rowan in her new job as a nanny. Photo credit: Rebecca Gonzales

Surprisingly, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I was going to. I typically don’t like reading books with paranormal undertones to them, but this book was different and captured my attention.

Gothic themes are mixed with modernity to create an addicting plot line. I honestly couldn’t put this book down, I thought it was a very clever and interesting spin on the whole haunted house mixed with a new nanny trope.

I ended up giving this book a 3 out of 5 just because I felt the ending was a little disappointing, and I don’t think it’s a book I’ll seek out to read again.

I loved the idea behind it, but it wasn’t anything spectacular or groundbreaking.

I was cheering for Rowan the whole time, and I think that if I had to put up with the bratty kids that she did, I would’ve quit after two days.

Even though Rowan is an unreliable narrator, I still felt invested in her life. Ware wrote her characters really well in this book, which made for a very enjoyable read.

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