Book Review · Books

The McMasters Guide To Homicide, Vol. 1: Murder Your Employer by Rupert Holmes [BOOK REVIEW]

The McMasters Guide To Homicide, Vol. 1: Murder Your Employer by Rupert Holmes [BOOK REVIEW]

Welcome to the McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts – a luxurious, clandestine college dedicated to the fine art of murder where earnest students study how best to “delete” their most deserving victim.


Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like if the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death.

The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college – its location unknown to even those who study there – is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate… and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live.

Prepare for an education you’ll never forget. A delightful mix of witty wordplay, breathtaking twists and genuine intrigue, Murder Your Employer will gain you admission into a wholly original world, cocooned within the most entertaining book about well-intentioned would-be murderers you’ll ever read.

The McMasters Guide To Homicide, Vol. 1: Murder Your Employer by Rupert Holmes [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 480

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Headline

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★★★


It feels wrong saying I was fascinated and pleasantly surprised by this book, when you only have the title to judge. After all, it is a guide on how to murder your employer. Disclaimer to all my colleagues: I promise it’s fiction!

I loved the start the most. The book is written as if the dean is speaking to the new students at the McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts. I love the idea of there being a school, where you’re about to learn how best to “delete” your “target”. It gave me Hogwarts vibes, with a killing twist. Even though the book contains mostly the Dean’s thoughts and advice, we also meet three students in particular, and through them, we get introduced to their lives, their classes and why they want to “delete” a certain person. 

Cliff Iverson, Gemma Lindley and Doria Maye all have one thing in common – they’re here to learn how to kill.

Through their diaries, interactions with each other and the dean’s reports, we follow their progress. It was interesting to see what the classes are about and the weekly timetables, including the eating schedules. What I found very intriguing were Cliff’s attempts to escape the school in the beginning. 

I will be honest, the book lost me somewhere in the middle. As soon as they were out in the world, preparing to execute their assignment (pun intended), I got a little lost. Mostly because I wasn’t aware of their plans. And the other part is maybe because I prefered the school setting. We knew mostly about Cliff’s plans, but even he went off script. And I know that the surprise and mystery elements have a say in us going in blindly, but I didn’t enjoy it because everyone was scheming at the same time and it was difficult for me to follow all three storylines without a lot of clues. If this was done separately, I would not have faced character and plot exhaustion and would have enjoyed this book so much more. 

That being said, the plot twists in the end were incredible. I devoured those last pages intensely! Seeing all plans being changed at the last minute was worth it! And on top of that, we have the dean’s comments on their assignment and the pass / fail moments too. The book blew me away so many times, it’s definitely one of a kind and one I wholeheartedly recommend, despite my “middle-book” experience. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next volumes of the McMasters Guide.

About The Author:

The McMasters Guide To Homicide, Vol. 1: Murder Your Employer by Rupert Holmes [BOOK REVIEW]

Rupert Holmes was born on February 24, 1947, in Northwich, Cheshire, England. Soon after, he ventured forth to America (New York) with his British mum and Air Force dad. After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Holmes delved into the art of melodious sound. A successful piano player for both the Cuff Links and the Buoys, with whom he had his first international hit, “Timothy,” in 1971, Rupert also wrote and arranged songs for Gene Pitney, The Platters, The Drifters and the Partridge Family.

With the new millennium, Holmes added novel writing to his repertoire. Where the Truth Lies, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut Novel. His second, Swing, was a San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Best Seller. His short stories have been anthologized in such prestigious collections as Best American Mystery Stories, On a Raven’s Wing, A Merry Band of Murderers and Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. He was also commissioned by The New York Times to write the Arts and Leisure tribute celebrating the 100th birthday of Irving Berlin.


Social Media:
| WishlistKo-fi | FacebookTwitterGoodreadsInstagramPinterest |

Leave a Reply