Without further ado, here we go:

  • There are weird and dangerous happenings in university campuses
  • There’s also a lot of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll (#nosurprise)
  • If there’s a small tightly knit group of students that also involves a professor, then something dangerous is about to happen, sooner or later
  • If there’s a professor who seems too good to be true, there’s always something weird about him / her
  • If the professor teaches Literature or Psychology, there are higher chances for a spooky story
  • At some point, some students (most probably the main character) will find out the dirty secret of the professor
  • If a professor becomes romantically involved with one of the students, then something dangerous is about to happen, sooner or later
  • If there’s a murder, there are high chances that the famous teacher is somehow involved or knows something about it
  • The criminal(s) may or may not be punished for the murder
  • What Dostoevsky illustrated more than 150 ago, when he wrote “Crime and Punishment”, is still valid today 🙂

The “learnings” were derived from 3 books that focused on the murder mysteries set in university campuses (incl. links to my reviews):

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Hampden College, USA) – my review
  • The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici (Princeton University, USA) – my review
  • The Truants by Kate Weinberg (University of East Anglia, UK) – my review

Have you read any books of this type? If yes, what are your main insights?

If you would like to buy books or other (non)bookish things, please consider using one of these links: Amazon | Waterstones | Carturesti. Thank you!

‘Till next time … happy reading!


9 thoughts on “What I learnt from reading murder mysteries set in university campuses

  1. I love the secret history so much and the whole dark academia genre talks enough about what could go wrong on a campus .. did you know Donna Tartt went to the same college as the American Psycho author? It is known for having been a place of many drugs and a unique culture with people similiar to the classics students, but I have not yet read of a murder happening there hahha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I did not know there is a genre called “dark academia” – it’s exactly what these books are about! And I had no idea about the connection between Donna Tartt and author of the American Psycho.
      Thanks a lot for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah yes I discovered it not that long ago a while after reading the secret history as well! There’s no one definition but I would best describe dark academia as where the characters are giving everything to one passion (often in an academic setting), to the point where it’s all-consuming with all the bad things that comes with that, like losing yourself, group manipulation or any darker psychological aspect to it. Often also ends in murder. I mean as you might’ve guessed it also has lighter elements to it, but I really read a lot of it when I had to leave uni early this spring (bc of covid)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. In my opinion, The Secret History was the most complex of the three books, and the most worth-reading. The Truants is quite similar to The Secret History. The Book of Mirrors was different, with more psychological aspects.

      I enjoyed reading all of them, but I would prioritize them as follows: 1) The Secret History, 2) The Book of Mirrors, 3) The Truants.


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