The life and death of a crime writer with her own dark tale

Anne Perry, born Juliet Hulme, kept her dark secret hidden until 1994, when she finally revealed that she and her friend had killed her friend's mother in 1954.

The life and death of a crime writer with her own dark tale

Anne Perry is a prolific London-born writer of historical and socially aware crime fiction. She spent five years in prison in her teens for murder. Her sordid past was brought to light with the release of the film The Killing.

Los Angeles, California: The 84-year-old director of a movie from 1994 has passed away.

Meg Davis, her literary agent, confirmed that Perry died in a hospital Monday (Tuesday NZT). Davis stated that Perry's health has declined since her heart attack in December.

Perry was already a successful writer before the skeleton was discovered in her closet.

Marilyn Stasio said in

The New York Times

Reviewing Perry's

Highgate Rise

The story of the murder by arson in 1991, which involved a social reformer and doctor's spouse.

According to Perry's website, her books, which include the Thomas Pitt and William Monk historical mystery series, have sold over 26 million copies. When she was in 1998,

The Times of London

She was listed alongside Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler as well as Dashiel Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dashiel Hammett in the 100 Masters of Crime of this century.


In 2000, she won the Edgar Allan Poe Award as the best short story for a story set in the trenches during World War I. She was the guest of honor at Bouchercon in 2013 and 2020. Bouchercon is an international convention for mystery writers and fans.

She was also famous, or at least close to being so, for a brutal 1954 New Zealand homicide: the beating to death of the mother of her best-friend.

Juliet Marion Hulme was born in London on October 28, 1938. She was the older of two children to Dr Henry Rainsford Hulme and Hilda Marion (Reavley) Hulme. Juliet developed tuberculosis at the age of six. After World War II ended, she was sent to live in the Bahamas with a foster home for her health.

Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, 1954, on their way to a Christchurch preliminary court hearing. Photo / Christchurch Star

She returned to her family at the age of 13 after her father was appointed rector of Cambridge University College in Christchurch, New Zealand. Juliet and Pauline Yvonne Parker bonded at Christchurch Girls' High School. They created a medieval fantasy world, and worshipped celebrities as saints, including opera singer Mario Lanza.

The girls devised a plan to avoid separation when Juliet's parents divorced and left New Zealand. They murdered Pauline's mom.

The girls, Pauline, 16, and Juliet, 15, repeatedly hit Honorah Parker with a half-brick wrapped in a stocking in Victoria Park in Christchurch. The trial caused a stir, with much of the focus on Juliet's and Pauline’s obsession and fantasies about being famous novelists.

After five years in separate prisons, both young women were found guilty of murder. They were then given new identities with instructions to never meet again. They were warned that if they broke the order, they'd be sent back to prison for life.

Juliet and Perry's parents both remarried. Perry's surname was given to her by her stepfather.

Perry's criminal history was made public in the summer 1994, when it became known that Peter Jackson planned to tell her story in a forthcoming film.

Heavenly Creatures

Kate Winslet stars as the self-confident teenage girl, who changed her name later to Anne Perry. Melanie Lynskey plays her insecure and sullen classmate Pauline. The film was released on November.

The film review headline in the


The title of the film was "Fantasies, and a love that led to murder." Newspapers at the time suggested a lesbian relationship between the two women, using the same discrete tone as Juliet’s father, who expressed concern over 'a rather unhealthy attachment'. Perry

Tell them to get on with it

The New Zealand Herald

In 2006,

The relationship was obsessive, but not sexual.

Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey in Heavenly Creatures.

Juliet always wanted to write, but spent her first 20 years as Anne in less creative jobs. She worked in retail sales, as a clerical worker, as a flight attendent, as a limo dispatcher, and as an insurance underwriter.

Her first novel.

The Cater Street Hangman

The first edition of was published in 1979. Kirkus Reviews described it as a 'hearty mystery/romance,' concluding that Perry's irreverent Victoriana was the main attraction.

William Pitt is a Victorian London policeman who was introduced in the book set in 1881. Charlotte Ellison, an aristocratic, but unconventional woman, would become his future wife. The two meet after an Ellison maid becomes the victim of a serial killer.

Perry said on her website, "I don't remember how many books I had written before then."

The William and Charlotte Pitt Series ended with more than 30 titles.

Murder on the Serpentine

The mystery surrounding the death of an old Queen Victoria friend. After the series ended, Perry started writing about Daniel Pitt's son. The final book of the series.

The Fourth Enemy

Last year, a book entitled, was released.

Her latest novel is

The Traitor among Us

The fifth installment in the Elena Standish series that began in 2019 will focus on a female English investigator. The book will be released in September.

Perry said that she wanted to focus less on the technical details of detective work, and more on "the pressure of criminal investigation" on the people involved. This included the changes in relationships.

Publishers Weekly

In 2014. In her stories she focused on one single question: "How well do you really know me?"

Perry introduced William Monk in 1990. Monk lived during a Victorian London period and faced a difficult career challenge: Monk lost his memory following a carriage accident.

Perry also writes a novella for Christmas every year. Perry's other works include five novellas set in World War I, as well as four young-adult novels and two fantasy novels based on faith (she became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after living for many years in the United States). She also wrote short stories.

Anne Perry in her home near Inverness, Scotland on September 2, 1995. Photo / Getty Image


A 2009 documentary made in Germany about Perry showed her in her home in northern Scotland near Inverness. She was a red-haired woman in her 70s who wrote her novels while relaxing on a leather recliner, with a large throw pillow in her lap. A coterie of mostly grey-haired people surrounded her, including a secretary who typed manuscripts, her retired doctor brother who acted as a researcher, and a neighbour whose husband served as Perry's chauffeur. She also had a playful terrier called Snoot, named after a dog from the Monk novels.

In 2017, Perry moved to West Hollywood, Los Angeles. He hoped to be nearer to the film and TV industry.

Perry didn't hesitate to admit her guilt after her murder conviction became public. Perry excused her guilt by claiming that she was afraid that her friend, who was distraught over the murder plot, would kill herself if she didn't go along with it.

Perry's regret was not self-condemnation.

In the documentary, she stated that 'in a way it's not about judging at all'. I did so much good, and then that much bad. Which is greater?

It's all about who I am. Am I someone that can be relied upon? Am I someone who is patient, compassionate, and strong? She also mentioned bravery, honesty and caring. If you are that type of person, if you have done something wrong in the past you've changed.

She said, "It is who you are after the time has passed that counts."

Perry has never been married. Perry never married.


Friends said that her romantic relationships were likely to end as she did not know how to handle her long-held secret.

Jonathan Hulme, her brother, is the only survivor.

This article was originally published in

The New York Times


Written by: Anita Gates