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 bewildered the nation.
- Why were the Ramseys, the targets of the investigation, able to control the direction of the police inquiry?
- Can the key 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?
|Product dimensions:||4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.25(d)|
About the Author
Lawrence Schiller ranks among our greatest investigative journalists. In addition to his bestselling books, he has written for the New Yorker and other major publications. For many years he has appeared as an on-air consultant for the ABC and NBC networks. He lives in Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
"Do roses know their thorns can hurt?" JonBenet 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 JonBenet 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 year?"
"That's the length of time it takes for the earth to make one trip all around the sun."
"So I've been around the sun five times?"
"Right. And you've almost finished your sixth trip."
I added that I'd completed the journey twenty-seven times. That stopped her. So many trips, she exclaimed. Then she became lost in thought.
That same week in September, the needles were falling off the pine tree and the sap had started to drip. "Why does a tree do that?" she asked. I wasn't certain I knew exactly, but I tried to explain--scientifically. "The sun helps pull the sap up from the trunk to the leaves." Then I compared the sap to human blood, said the sap carries nourishment to the whole tree. Anyone could see she was excited to learn about these things.
Theneighborhood kids would come by from time to time. JonBenet seemed to socialize with them just fine. Her brother, Burke, was three years older. He almost never said a word to me. Just played by himself in the backyard, completely occupied with his own projects. Next to the sandbox and swing, in the pea gravel area, he dug a system of canals. Then he put a hose on top of the slide. The water poured down and spread perfectly throughout the elaborate waterway.
"Someday you're going to be an engineer?" I asked him.
"No," he said. Just a single word--no.
He always seemed to play alone.
Just then Patsy called from inside, "It's time to start your homework." I remember thinking, There's a mother who really cares about her children.
"Burke, come in and start your homework."
"OK, just a minute, Mom." It was like an old-fashioned TV show--Leave It to Beaver or Father Knows Best.
While I kept the gardens well-defined and tidy, as pristine as a golf course, JonBenet had her own projects. She would attach an exercise device to one ankle, and then, as it rotated several inches off the ground but parallel to it, she would hop with the other leg over the cord as it swung by. She'd keep this up for long periods on the back patio. And she was very good at it. It was kind of a cool thing--demanded good reflexes and coordination. I even thought of getting one for myself.
I figured her legwork was for the pageants. I could see the muscles becoming defined in her calves. I'd made a similar assumption when I saw her practicing the violin. I knew the competitions took a lot of preparation, but I never once saw her in makeup or costumes, never spotted her wearing anything but jumpers or jeans, or shorts and T-shirts.
I'd heard she was Little Miss Colorado, and I asked her if she was excited about winning the title.
"I really don't care about it," she said. It didn't seem to be a very big deal to her, or if it was, she certainly didn't let on. She seemed more interested in trips around the sun or the lifeblood of trees.
In early December of '96, I was raking the blanket of leaves under a maple, getting the property ready for winter.
"Don't pick the leaves up, please," JonBenet begged me. "Leave them for me to play with."
Well, I'm thinking, no way. My job is to pick them up, and that's what I'm going to do.
"Last year my dad and I did that."
And then she said quietly; "I really miss him. I wish he was around more."
"Where does he go?"
"I don't know. But sometimes he goes away for a long time."
"You really miss him?" I asked.
"Yeah, I really miss him a lot."
Then she started to cry, tears rolling down her cheeks.
I didn't know what to say--didn't know enough about the situation, didn't want to intrude or play counselor. It wasn't my place. I changed the subject and started to rake up the leaves.
A moment later, I saw JonBenet was scooping up the leaves from the top of the barrel and hurling them over her head into the wind. "Hey! Stop that!" I yelled.
"No, I want to play in 'em." She was being kind of bratty. She had a bit of smart aleck in her.
I grabbed the barrel and started running toward the compost pile. She chased after me, not about to give up her fun. I set the barrel down, and she dumped all the leaves out. That made me angry--almost. But before long I made a game out of it--it was fun for both of us.
That evening I left a big pile of leaves out front by the gutter for her to play with.
That was probably the last time I spoke to JonBenet. Six weeks later I took the morning paper from my front steps and saw it. I don't even remember now what the headlines said.
I wanted to go over to the Ramseys'. Later that day, I did drive by. It was crazy--media, police, yellow tape going all around the house. Just totally crazy. I didn't even try to go in. I kept driving.
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. Copyright © by Lawrence Schiller. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
it was brillant i don't know how some one can wright a book so well and i thought paul jennings was cool
It's a good book
The book Perfect Murder,Perfect Town, chronicles the invetigation into the murder of a young beauty queen named Jonbenet Ramsey. The high profile status of her family, their wealth and her families deep founding religion are what eventually assist in covering up this heinous murder of a sweet little girl. Schiller's work is amazing. He gives an unbiased account of the entire investigation leaving the reader to come up with their own conclusion as to who committed this brutal crime. It is clearly Patsy Ramsey the girl's mother and John Ramsey the girl's father who betrayed their beautiful daughter's trust by taking her life away, lying to the media and everyone who sought justice, and by not participating in the investigation. This book is a must read, I couldn't put it down, and I am looking for other reads pertaining to the case as you too will find after reading this masterpeice.
This book is the best compilation of facts on this case that I've read and I've read them all. There was plenty of blame to go around and the author cleary is not biased for or against the Ramsey's. The plain facts are stated adn the reader is left to draw their own conclusion, clearly Patsy Ramsey did kill her daughter and both parents worked together to cover it up. Justice will never be done in this case due to police and DA screw-ups and the biases of some investigators who aparently shared religous views of the Ramseys.
The non-fiction book that I read was ¿Perfect Murder Perfect Town¿ by Lawrence Schiller. This was about the murder of Jonbénet Ramsey, which occurred in Boulder, Colorado of 1996. ¿Perfect Murder Perfect Town¿ begins with the morning, December 26, 1996, that Patsy Ramsey call 911 to report her daughter, Jonbénet, missing. Then the novel continues with all of the aftermath events, such as the police coming to the Ramsey¿s home, trying to figure out the ransom note, and finally finding Jonbénet¿s body in the basement of their home. Once the body of Jonbénet Ramsey was found, then there is a change of direction in the book. All of a sudden andyone and everyone is a suspect and everyone¿s emotions are off the wall, especially Patsy Ramsey¿s. In those beginning hours of finding Jonbénet¿s body, many things were believed to have been mishandled, that many investigators think could have helped solve the case. Then, Lawrence Schiller goes on to tell about the analysis of the investigation and how the case turned into a media craze that complicated everything even more. Also, how the case dragged on, even when it made it to the courts. Finally, on September 13, 1999, the grand jury came to a consensus of the Jonbénet Ramsey case. That no one was going to be charged with her murder because the evidence wasn¿t able to convict anyone. I really enjoyed reading ¿The Perfect Murder Perfect Town.¿ When we were first assigned the book project, the Jonbénet Ramsey case was all over the media again because investigators thought that they had finally found her killer. Since I was little when the murder had occurred and I didn¿t know about the facts and what had really happened I was interested in the book. I think that the book did a fabulous job of going into detail about the Ramsey¿s background and how the investigators were looking at the case from every angle possible. Such as the family, friends, co-workers of John Ramsey, and anybody who might have come in contact with Jonbénet or her family. I also liked how a lot of research was put into the book. I felt like everything written in the book was concrete and not assumed by the author. Also, since the Jonbénet Ramsey case was/is really controversial about who killed this innocent little girl, I liked how Lawrence Schiller didn¿t put his input or thoughts on who he thought was her murderer. Overall I really like how the facts were given in a story and how the story wasn¿t biased. My dislikes about ¿Perfect Murder Perfect Town¿ was how long it was. I thought there was kind of a log of going back and forth on the investigation that really wasn¿t necessary. That was really my only complaint about the book. I recommend reading this book because it gives a great outline of the murder and all of its facts in chronological order. I also recommend the book because Jonbénet Ramsey case is one of America¿s most widely known cases that is still unsolved. This book, in a way, tells why the case is still unsolved and how some of the biggest pieces to the case are there, but have been tampered with. Other books that are written by Lawrence Schiller that I would recommend are the ¿American Tragedy¿ and the Executioner¿s Song¿ because I think Lawrence Schiller is an excellent author. My overall rating of the ¿Perfect Murder Perfect Town¿ would be an A. I give it this because I thought the book was very insightful about pretty much everything that occurred in the Ramsey murder case. From the events prior to Jonbénet¿s murder to all of the events after and their after-math. The reason why I wouldn¿t give the book an A+ would be because of the length. I think Lawrence Schiller put a little too much detail and facts into the book. Overall, I really liked reading the book and enjoyed it.