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?

‘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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