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Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century
Cover of Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century
Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century
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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.

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.

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About the Author-
  • Peter Graham served as a barrister 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.  

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2013
    A New Zealand lawyer revisits the highly publicized, mysterious case of matricide in his country in 1954. Graham (Vile Crimes: The Timaru Poisonings, 2007) makes the old seem fresh as he tries to explain why teenagers Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme murdered Parker's mother during a walk in a nature area. The murder, sensational on its own, gained extra resonance later--once because of the Peter Jackson film about the case, Heavenly Creatures, and once after Hulme, released from prison, reinvented herself as best-selling novelist Anne Perry. Graham explores conundrums, such as the mental states of the teenagers at the time of the murder and afterward; whether the teenagers were starry-eyed lesbian lovers; and why each defendant served so little time given that they never expressed contrition. Turning his re-examination into a contemporary detective story, the author builds up drama about whether he will be able to locate Parker (who assumed a new identity) and Hulme. And if he can locate them, will they talk to him and reveal undisclosed details about the crime? Though Graham does not learn anything new from the perpetrators, he does gain insights from numerous other individuals who became enmeshed in the case. An epilogue informs readers about the fates of the major and minor players. 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.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Kirkus "Graham makes the old seem fresh as he tries to explain why teenagers Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme murdered Parker's mother during a walk in a nature area. The murder, sensational on its own, gained extra resonance later—once because of the Peter Jackson film about the case, Heavenly Creatures, and once after Hulme, released from prison, reinvented herself as best-selling novelist Anne Perry. Graham explores conundrums, such as the mental states of the teenagers at the time of the murder and afterward; whether the teenagers were starry-eyed lesbian lovers; and why each defendant served so little time given that they never expressed contrition. Turning his re-examination into a contemporary detective story...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."
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