Thursday, April 13, 2023

RIP Anne Perry

Prolific, best-selling author Anne Perry has died. She was 84 years old and had been in ill health since having a heart attack in December.

Anne Perry at the 2015 California Crime Writers Conference

I discussed Perry's background here in a review of a biography of her.  Prior to taking the name Anne Perry, she was Juliet Hulme, who along with her friend Pauline Parker murdered Pauline's mother Honora Reiper in 1954 when the girls were 15-16 years old. The crime - along with the girls' obsessive friendship - was the subject of Peter Jackson's fantastic 1994 film Heavenly Creatures. Kate Winslet portrayed Juliet, while Melanie Lynskey, who is currently killing it in Yellowjackets, was Pauline. It was the motion picture debut for both actresses. Great film, I highly recommend it.

A few years back Perry left her home in Scotland and relocated to Los Angeles to better facilitate Hollywood productions of her works but I never heard of any resulting projects, and her imdb entry only lists The Cater Street Hangman, a 1998 TV movie based on her 1979 debut novel. On the other hand, she kept publishing novels right up to her death.

I first saw Perry in person at the L.A. Times Festival of Books some years ago, and also at the 2015 California Crime Writers Conference where she was a keynote speaker. At these appearances her past was never brought up and it didn't seem to hurt or hinder her career. I always had somewhat mixed feelings about Perry - she served her sentence and was productive and law-abiding thereafter, but back when I read The Cater Street Hangman it felt weird to be reading a murder story written by someone who'd actually done it. Based on what I've read about her, she put the murder behind her and got on with her life, describing it as a youthful mistake that she had paid the price for. She was also an amazingly prolific author, publishing over sixty works since her 1979 debut. 

RIP Anne Perry.

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