A Perfect Crime
Author: A Yi
Translator: Anna Holmwood
Original language: Chinese
Published by: Oneworld Publications, 2015
On a normal day in provincial China, a bored high-school student goes about his regular business. But he’s planning the brutal murder of his only friend, a talented violinist. He invites her round, strangles her, stuffs her body into a washing machine and flees town. On the run and without remorse, the student is initially anxious, but having outsmarted the authorities the allure of danger soon takes hold again. Alerting the police to his whereabouts, the cat-and-mouse game begins anew with the stakes rising to ever-higher levels.
A Perfect Crime is both a vision of China’s heart of darkness – the despair that traps the rural poor and the incoherent rage lurking behind their phlegmatic front – and a technically brilliant excursion into the claustrophobic realm of classic horror and suspense. A Yi steadily reveals the psychological backstory that enables us to make sense of the story’s dramatic violence and provides chillingly apt insights into the psychology behind a murder committed simply as an intellectual challenge to relieve the daily tedium of existence.