Colin Firth and the real Michael Peterson composite
True Crime

The Staircase: What books has Michael Peterson written?

Yes, one of the books is all about The Staircase

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Michael Peterson gained worldwide notoriety for The Staircase, but prior to this he was an accomplished author – so which books has he written?

Anyone who has watched The Staircase drama on Sky Atlantic, or indeed the documentary upon which is based on Netflix, will know the Peterson family enjoyed affluence, living in a sprawling mansion house.

Peterson, who went on to become prime suspect for the alleged murder of his wife, Kathleen Peterson, had amassed his fortune writing crime novels.

In more recent years he has written about his experience of prison and the American justice system.

And, er, Santa…

Michael Peterson sheds a tear during his trial
Peterson spent eight years in prison after being convicted of Kathleen’s murder (Credit: YouTube/Netflix)

Read more: The true story behind The Staircase: Where is Michael Peterson now?

What is The Staircase?

Sky Atlantic is currently airing a true-crime drama called The Staircase, starring Colin Firth as Michael Peterson and Toni Collette as tragic Kathleen.

The drama is based on the critically acclaimed documentary series of the same name, that followed Michael Peterson and his family after Kathleen was found dead at the bottom of the back stairs of their home.

As Peterson was charged with murder, cameras followed preparations for the trial, the trial itself and the aftermath – including an appeal.

Who is Michael Peterson?

A former soldier and reasonably successful author, Peterson, now 78, also had political aspirations prior to Kathleen’s death and the subsequent furore.

His decision to have a French documentary crew tell his story while the murder investigation was ongoing proved incredibly smart.

The Staircase docu series threw doubt on elements of the investigation, including Peterson’s supposed guilt.

And no doubt played a crucial part in the deal that eventually saw Peterson serve just eight years before his conviction was overturned.

In a weird twist, though, the original guilty verdict stands, but only in the law books.

So, Peterson is a free man.

Read more: The Staircase: Who are Kathleen Peterson’s children? What is her family tree?

What books did Michael Peterson write?

Peterson began writing way back when – his first novel was published way back in 1983.

Titled The Immortal Dragon, it’s an epic saga of love and betrayal set against the backdrop of the 19th-century French invasion of Vietnam.

Colin Firth as Michael Peterson in Sky's The Staircase
Colin Firth portrays Michael Peterson in Sky Atlantic’s The Staircase (Credit: YouTube/Sky)

And according to Good Reads, lots of people kind of liked it.

But one reviewer felt it was far too full of gratuitous sex, and perhaps was meant for teenagers.

Michael Peterson war books

Additionally, he’s written or co-written three books set during the Vietnam War.

The first he wrote alongside journalist David Perlmutt, called Charlie Two Shoes and Marines of Love Company.

Peterson also published fiction novels A Time Of War in 1990 and its sequel, A Bitter Peace in 1997.

The next book Peterson published was, let’s say, a bit niche…

It’s called Baby Division and is a history of the youngest German WWII SS division, drawn entirely from Hitler Youth.

The book includes over 100 never-before-seen photos from surviving members of the division.

Also, some of the images came from the author’s personal collection.

Peterson apparently collected pictures of young German soldiers.

Michael Peterson’s books about The Staircase

In 2019, Peterson published Behind The Staircase.

It’s a first-hand account of everything that’s happened since he discovered Kathleen’s body.

That includes the investigation, trial, and his time in jail.

Michael Peterson in the Netflix documentary The Staircase
Peterson always maintained his innocence in the case (Credit: YouTube/Netflix)

According to the book’s Amazon page, profits from the sales will go to charity, and it’s also open-source, meaning anyone can republish and use it.

Peterson has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so in the book.

Read more: Ben Shephard shares sweet family news on GMB: ‘I can’t believe it’

After that, Peterson went back to fiction with a jollier tone than his previous work.

Santa’s Pandemic Cruise, published in 2020, is centred around a well-deserved holiday taken by Father Christmas and a few close pals.

Peterson’s book combines cruises, climate change, and Covid into one holiday-themed jaunt as Santa races against the pandemic to make sure he’s home for Christmas.

It’s not going to win a Booker, but according to Good Reads, it is a fun way to spend a few hours.

The Staircase drama airs Thursdays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

The Staircase documentary can be found on Netflix.

Will you be reading any of Michael Peterson’s books? Let us know! Head to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and tell us.