Review – His Bloody Project

Posted February 19, 2023 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae BurnetHis Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet

His Bloody Project was an interesting read right after Murder: The Biography, since it touches on the same themes of what is right and just when someone might not be in their right mind — and how you would tell. I could easily imagine this fictional case of Roddy Mcrae being one of the cases discussed in Murder: A Biography, in how Roddy is treated by the law and whether that’s just. (On the other hand, His Bloody Project leaves open the possibility that Roddy knew full well what he was doing, and that he murdered Flora and covered it up via his murder of Lachlan, hoping for more mercy for a “justified” killing.)

The format gets a little repetitive, since things are repeated between the various witness statements, Roddy’s own writing, and the court case itself. Each has subtle variations that cast light on Roddy’s character from different points of view, of course, but even with that cleverness, it’s still repetitive.

After reading it all, I’m still left that little bit uncertain about what to conclude. Was Roddy sane, did he plan this out? Was his written confession an elaborate lie? Does he remember exactly what he did to his victims? I think the hints are telling us that he committed the murder in a very planned way, and then wrote his narrative to cover it up — but there are spaces in between and subtleties that make it hard to be very sure. It’s very cleverly done, even though it isn’t comfortable reading.

Rating: 3/5

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