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Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: The Uncensored Story Of The JonBenet Murder And The Grand Jury's Search For The Truth (1999)

Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: The Uncensored Story of the JonBenet Murder and the Grand Jury's Search for the Truth (1999)

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3.66 of 5 Votes: 5
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0061096962 (ISBN13: 9780061096969)

About book Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: The Uncensored Story Of The JonBenet Murder And The Grand Jury's Search For The Truth (1999)

Schiller, Lawrence. Perfect Murder, Perfect Town (1999)****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 JonBenét, this book, at about 800 pages, is a bit too much. For those interested in the politics and pecking order of the judicial system as practiced in Boulder, Colorado, this is probably a fascinating read from cover to cover. The story of the media is also interesting, but too narrowly focused on the tabloid coverage, especially the material about Jeff Shaprio, then working for the Globe. Stories from the local (Colorado) media are quoted liberally throughout the text, but the day-to-day inner workings of the local press is not detailed. Some of this material seems pasted in as though Schiller began to weary of his subject. The detail about the Colorado judicial system, often presented in footnotes at the bottom of pages, was legalistic and not really illuminating. Additionally the text is marred by typos of the kind not caught by spell checkers, including the wrong "their" near the bottom of page 385, an extraneous article on line 11, page 501, and most significantly, an "isn't" for an "is" on page 227. (Actually the sentence in that footnote doesn't make sense with either an "isn't" as written, or an "is" as seems indicated.) On the plus side Schiller does an excellent job of making some of the players come to life including the very tricky Jeff Shapiro, the tabloid reporter who insinuated himself into the district attorney's offices, made friends with the Boulder police, joined Ramsey's church and even talked at length with John Ramsey on the phone (something Schiller was not able to do). The portrait of the sincere and tremendously dedicated Det. Steve Thomas was also good, as was that of retired detective Lou Smit, who befriended the Ramseys. Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter comes across primarily as a politician. I also appreciated the floor plan of the Ramsey house in Appendix A and the character list at the back of the book. The name index was also valuable, although I think there should have been a subject index as well.Because I didn't know the details of the case before reading this book, for me, the most important parts are pages 497-499, where the FBI profilers present their extremely powerful arguments against the intruder theory, and pages 660-670 where there is a summation of the evidence gathered by the Boulder police. Reading between the lines we can see that John Ramsey himself is a slightly "superior," somewhat cold and calculating man with some prejudice against the relatively liberal culture of Boulder, Colorado and against the poor (see page 690 where he argues that Bill McReynolds, who played "Santa Claus," should be a suspect partly because "he doesn't have two nickels to rub together"). Nonetheless one imagines that John Ramsey loved his daughter (and she loved him) so that it is untenable to think that he could have deliberately murdered her. Furthermore he has too much control of himself to have accidentally struck and killed her. On the other hand Patsy Ramsey comes across as someone with particularly shallow values predicated almost entirely on appearance who has a temper that she could very well lose. Her love for her daughter is less clear than her husband's, although her need for JonBenét to succeed and thereby reflect favorably upon herself is very strong. One imagines that she could punish her daughter very severely but outside of public scrutiny. One further imagines she would seek to cover up anything that would make her look bad. One very telling observation in the book (p. 13) is that the ransom note was the "War and Peace of ransom notes." The Patsy Ramsey seen in this book is a person who does everything in a flamboyant and overdone manner.I don't think, however, that the evidence as presented here is strong enough to draw a definite conclusion about who killed JonBenét. One thing is clear: John and Patsy Ramsey are either monstrously unlucky, or they are monsters. --a review by Dennis Littrell

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's office. It was important to present this aspect of the long, drawn out saga, but I felt it could have been condensed, as it was the least interesting aspect of this book. More pages dedicated to everything else, and less to this 'in-fighting', and the book would have been by far more interesting. Also, because of this focus on the warring detectives and cops, there were a LOT of names flying about. No wonder there was a 'who is who' list at the back of the book. I kept having to refer back to it until I gave up caring.Am I any wiser after reading this book? No. Do I think this crime will ever be solved? No. Did the first response police botch things, making this case even harder to to solve? Yes, without a doubt.I guess all in all, there is some lack of satisfaction in reading a true crime book where the mystery isn't solved. No fault of the author, of course. That's just how it is. Though the author's lack of his own theory was kind of an odd omission.

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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 book... if they are indeed true. But I'm done with this book. I can't believe I wasted as much time on it as I did.

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 terrible tragedy and vicious crime this poor little girl endured.

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 participants: the loose-lipped, bizarrely chatty DA, the wannabe macho cops, the frankly repulsive reporters. They spent more time backstabbing each other than doing real work, if this book is to be believed. Everyone involved needed to grow up.

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