WHEN LIFE IMITATES
ART, MURDER AND MYSTERY:
ANNE PERRY COULDN’T HAVE PENNED IT BETTER HERSELF
Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century
By Peter Graham
Title: Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century - Peter Graham
Author: Peter Graham
Skyhorse Publishing hardcover, also available as an ebook
On Sale: May 2013
Synopsis: On June 22, 1954, teenage friends Juliet Hulme--better known as bestselling mystery writer Anne Perry--and Pauline Parker went for a walk in a New Zealand park with Pauline's mother, Honora. Half an hour later, the girls returned alone, claiming that Pauline's mother had had an accident. But when Honora Parker was found in a pool of blood with the brick used to bludgeon her to death close at hand, Juliet and Pauline were quickly arrested, and later confessed to the killing. Their motive? A plan to escape to the United States to become writers, and Honora's determination to keep them apart. Their incredible story made shocking headlines around the world and would provide the subject for Peter Jackson's Academy Award-nominated film, Heavenly Creatures.
A sensational trial followed, with speculations about the nature of the girls' relationship and possible insanity playing a key role. Among other things, Parker and Hulme were suspected of lesbianism, which was widely considered to be a mental illness at the time. This mesmerizing book offers a brilliant account of the crime and ensuing trial and shares dramatic revelations about the fates of the young women after their release from prison. With penetrating insight, this thorough analysis applies modern psychology to analyze the shocking murder that remains one of the most interesting cases of all time.
About the author: Peter Graham served as a lawyer for many years before turning to crime writing. In addition to Anne Perry, he is the author of Vile Crimes: The Timaru Poisonings. He lives in New Zealand.
Other Reviews: “Graham psychoanalyzes Parker and Hulme from afar but does so tastefully and insightfully. Matricide is a rare crime. As a result, it has not been written about much in the popular literature, a gap Graham fills admirably. A worthy retrospective that feels chilling in the manner of novelist Perry.”
Juliet Hulme is a bestselling horror novelist— and a convicted killer. On June 22, 1954, the famed mystery writer, better known as Anne Perry, and her friend Pauline Parker returned from a New Zealand park. They left behind a woman—Pauline’s mother—lying dead in a pool of her own blood. Using a brick, Perry had struck the final blow in Honora Parker’s unimaginably brutal murder.
Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century (Skyhorse Publishing/A Herman Graf Book, May 2013) unearths the crime and ensuing trial that first captured the world’s attention with shocking newspaper headlines and, later, with Peter Jackson’s Academy Award–nominated film Heavenly Creatures.
In Graham’s book, speculations about the nature of the girls’ relationship and possible insanity playing a key role are revisited, with added insight. Among other things, Parker and Hulme were suspected of lesbianism, which was widely considered to be a mental illness at the time. Did Anne Perry feel remorse? Did Pauline, who committed matricide?
Perry and her accomplice spent less than six years in jail, which may outrage some readers, while also providing the historical context of the judicial system of the day. And Perry’s future success authoring murder mysteries adds a spine-tingling urgency to her crime: at what point did her imagined violence progress to true brutality?
Pauline Parker is also carefully examined. True crime rarely breaches the disturbing act of matricide, and Graham does a fascinating job of laying bare the psyche of this young woman, who would go on to live an ascetic life as a teacher.
In stark contrast to Pauline Parker, Anne Perry seemed impervious to her crime, and did not shy from the public eye—yet there remains so much more to learn. Anne Perry will shock and engage readers who thought they knew everything about one of the most fascinating literary figures of all time.