The Search for Anne Perry
Award-winning crime writer Anne Perry had a secret past more colourful than any of her creations: she was Juliet Hulme, one of the teenagers whose obsessive relationship led to the 1954 Parker-Hulme Murder. Peter Jackson's film on the subject, Heavenly Creatures, led to her identity being revealed, but there was still much that was opaque. Drayton was priveleged with Perry's own account when writing this book.
FINALIST: NEW ZEALAND POST BOOK AWARDS 2013
In 1994, director Peter Jackson released the film Heavenly Creatures, based on a famous 1950s matricide committed in New Zealand by two teenage girls embroiled in an obsessive relationship. This film launched Jackson's international career. It also forever changed the life of Anne Perry, an award-winning, bestselling crime writer, who at the time of the film's release was publically outed as Juliet Hulme, one of the murderers. A new light was now cast, not only on Anne's life, but also her novels, which feature gruesome and violent deaths, and confronting, dark issues including infanticide and incest. Acclaimed literary biographer, Joanne Drayton, intersperses the story of Anne's life with an examination of her writing, drawing parallels between Anne's own experiences and her characters and storylines. Anne's books deal with miscarriages of justice, family secrets exposed, punishment, redemption and forgiveness, themes made all the more poignant in light of her past. Anne has sold 25 million books worldwide and published in 15 different languages, yet she will now forever be known as a murderer who became a writer of murder stories. Drayton was been given unparalleled access to Anne, her friends, relatives, colleagues and archives to complete the book. The result is a compelling read which provides an understanding of the girl Anne was, the adult she became, her compulsion to write and her view of the world.
Joanne Drayton is Associate Professor in the Department of Design at UNITEC, Auckland. Her critically acclaimed 2008 Ngaio Marsh: Her Life in Crime was a Christmas pick of the UK Guardian in 2008. This is her fifth biography.