New Zealand History

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The search for Anne Perry

October 14th, 2012

Dr Joanne Drayton discusses her biography of crime writer Anne Perry, better known in New Zealand as the convicted muderer Juliet Hulme.


On 22 June 1954, Juliet Hulme and her friend Pauline Parker, set out for an afternoon in Victoria Park, Christchurch with Pauline’s mother, Honora Parker. For Honora, the walk ended with her murder. Juliet and Pauline were subsequently tried in a sensational court case that was widely covered by the press in New Zealand and overseas.

Having been found guilty, Juliet spent five and a half years in prison. On her release she changed her name, left New Zealand and disappeared from view. Then Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures (1994) changed everything. With interest in the murder reignited, journalists managed to track down Juliet Hulme, who was now living under the name of Anne Perry – and leading a successful life as a bestselling crime fiction writer (she’s sold more than 25 million copies of her books).

While Anne’s identity has been revealed to the world for some years now, she has never spoken to a biographer about her life in-depth. However, in a ground-breaking move, the famously private Perry agreed to be interviewed by Joanne Drayton, allowing her unparalleled access to her friends, relatives, colleagues and archives. This unique access has resulted in the first comprehensive biography of Anne Perry, bringing together the two somewhat incompatible lives of Juliet Hulme the murderer, and Anne Perry the bestselling author in a literary biography with a twist.

This seminar was presented on 5 September 2012.

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