Sunday, April 14, 2013
Book Review - Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century
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.
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.
My Take on the Book
This was an amazingly intense book that brought out a crime that I do not even remember hearing about in the past. The author in this book did a great job at putting forth all of the facts in the case and leading you to the crime itself. The book took you step-by-step through the case itself and all of the implications. The book though went even deeper and you left the reading of this book with an in-depth understanding of what happened and the ramifications. I was astounded to see how little the both women had to pay for their crime and how Anne Perry failed to even shy away from the limelight, even after released. I was completely drawn in by the book and how a well known author now had a past that was so different that what I would have expected. This was a well written book and for any true crime fan, you will be very pleased by the book itself!
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