The search for Anne Perry
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The search for Anne Perry

3.04 of 5 stars 3.04  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The world knew Anne Perry as the writer of bestselling crime fiction. After the release of 'Heavenly Creatures, ' about the 1954 Parker-Hulme murders, a shocking revelation came to light. Anne Perry is actually Juliet Hume - the teenager convicted of jointly murdering her friend's mother. This book tells her story
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Harper Collins (first published January 1st 2012)
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The Search for Anne Perry by Joanne Drayton is a 2014 Arcade Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I remember distinctly having a conversation with a friend on a popular book club site about how much we enjoyed the work of Anne Perry. Another member added that while her books were entertaining enough, Anne's personal history was what really peaked his interest. I had no idea what he referring to, so he began to elaborate....more
Lucie Mckenna
This book attempts to understand Anne Perry through her fiction, and there is excessive detail on the characters and plots that i found annoying. I felt the author could have explored the moral parables between the characters and the author without going into so much detail. Fans of Anne Perry's work might not mind so much. I skim read most of those bits, which made for a very slow start.
The rest of the book was fairly interesting, about Anne's life, her struggles as an author and her professio...more
Jenni Ogden
I picked this new biography off a bookshelf while waiting in the airport for a delayed flight. Although I have never read an Anne Perry book, I have seen a documentary about her as a writer, and of course as a NZer I know the story of her previous teenage life as Juliet Hulme, who murdered, with her close friend Pauline Parker, Pauline's unsuspecting mother. This all happened in Christchurch, not far from where my daughter lives now. As Anne Perry she has written a remarkable number of novels, h...more
For a long time I have been intrigued by the relationship between Anne Perry's murder mysteries -- which usually have a component of moral struggle in them or a story of redemption -- and the experiences of her own life. I've wanted to know how she thinks about her past, and how does it influence her writing? This biography is as close as I will ever get, I imagine, to having that curiosity addressed. Not all my questions are answered, but they are, at least, explored.

The book was always intend...more
Cheryl M-M
This book and story has been a long time coming, and I for one am glad someone has written it.

It clears up a lot of unanswered questions and more importantly we get to hear the story from Perry's own perspective.

I can remember when the story broke about Anne Perry and the life she left behind her many years ago. The life of Juliet Hulme, a young girl convicted of conspiring to and actually killing her friends mother. This young girl, murderess at the age of 15, was to go on and become a world re...more
Sam Sattler
Finally...a book that gets inside the head of author Anne Perry in which Perry herself explains what was in her head when she, along with another teen girl, brutally beat that girl's mother to death with a stocking-enclosed piece of brick.

Because I've been wondering for years about Perry's rather strange decision to make her living as a murder mystery writer after having been convicted of committing one of the more horrible murders in the history of New Zealand, I had high hopes that "The Searc...more
Dorothy Grenville
This book is thoroughly researched, well written and a serious biography, that is a page turner. The narrative bowls along and in one of the very clever tools the writer uses, links and weaves Anne`s story with a particular novel that she has written, which works extremely well.
Bibi Rose
I'm not sure the extensive summarizing of the novels really works, but I have difficulty imagining how the book would have come across without them. I think the book is extremely valuable in the way it brings out what Perry really went through in the aftermath of the crime. There is a point where she is in prison and decides to fully accept responsibility for her situation. "Nobody did this to me." This was a 15-year-old sent to serve an indeterminate sentence at hard labor in a qhastly old pris...more
Kerryn Whiteside
I think it was my mother who first told me that Anne Perry had been "outed" as the teenage murderess played by Kate Winslett in Peter Jackson's 1994 movie Heavenly Creatures. Juliette Hulme (Winslett) and her friend Pauline Parker were convicted of murdering Pauline's mother Honorah on 1954. Having enjoyed a number of her Inspector Pitt series of Victorian crime novels I was intrigued by the story. But did not think of it again until recently when a customer asked me whether we had any of Anne P...more
Kathleen Dixon
Anybody picking up this book will almost certainly know some of the background information - Anne Perry was once Juliet Hulme, and she and her best friend Pauline Parker brutally murdered Pauline's mother, Honora, in 1954. Juliet and Pauline were aged 15 and 16 at the time. They escaped the death sentence because they were underage, but did about six years (of life sentences) in prison. After Peter Jackson made the movie Heavenly Creatures (released in 1994), intense interest was again aroused i...more
Helen Goltz
This is an intriguing story, well researched and academically written. It is a bit of a difficult read if you are just wanting to know the story of Anne Perry as it (cleverly) interweaves fact and fiction, past and present.

I am a little torn by this book ... before I read it, I was open to understanding Anne Perry, but when I read again about the brutality of the crime and the casualness of the girls when in court (smiling at each other, showing no remorse) I found this very disturbing. I accep...more
Anne Perry has written more than 20 mysteries each in the Inspector Pitt and Inspector Monk series, as well as a quintet of novels about WW I. A prolific author, living in an isolated village in Scotland, her past was exposed in 1994, when a New Zealand reporter identified her as Juliet Hulme, a participant in the murder of her best friend's mother, when both girls were teen-agers in Christchurch. After spending five and a half years in prison, she left New Zealand and assumed a new identity. Th...more

Although I really enjoyed the story of Anne Perry's life, I found all the detail about her books a bit too much. I also thought some of the ideas didn't flow well together. It also finished rather abruptly. It wasn't a page turner but I enjoyed it and wanted to read it through.
William Freeman
Read for Book Group not a well written biography at all
For some reason I have always been fascinated by this case. I think all of NZ remembers it in a certain way, I know both my grandmother and father are equally curious and we have read many articles between us.
This book was great in satisfying my long lingering curiousity about her - where had she moved after jail, what got her into writing crime novels, how she was discovered. It was great for those parts, but it also focused far too much on literary analysis of her crime novels. I found myself...more
Joanne Drayton makes the reader work to get to interesting information about Anne Perry which for me was the murder. I think in part the reason for this difficulty is that the book was written with Anne Perry's cooperation; Drayton felt need to be subtle with some of the controversy surrounding Anne Perry.

The book starts off long descriptions about her writings which for the most part I skimmed over. The "literary" biography part of this book which describes off the books that Anne Perry has wri...more
Mallory Heart Reviews
This fascinating, articulate, literary biography is a must-read for any aficionado of Anne Perry, for devotees of detective fiction, and for writers and readers wishing to examine in depth the writing process of a highly talented author (both Anne Perry and Joanne Drayton). This book has convinced me to both return to the novels of Anne Perry and reread in sequence; and to begin seeking out literary biography in general. Joanne Drayton has gifted us with a literate, amazing, detailed, always ent...more
I'm a bit torn. I thought it was well researched and did give some good insights into Anne Perry's background and life as an author. The structure of the book annoyed me; rather than being chronological, each chapter has 2 parts following separate timeframes. I found that jarring at times.

My other gripe is the "spoilerish" details that the author gives on every book that Anne Perry has written. I've read quite a few of her books but for the ones I haven't yet read, I had to recognize that fact f...more
A fascinating story that is written in such a way so as to make the remarkable seem positively dull. I received more insight reading the Wikipedia article on Anne Perry's life. In addition to which, the plot summaries for each significant Anne Perry novel were unnecessary and only served to spoil these books that I had previously looked forward to reading.
Vicki Johnson
The author's compassionate approach and sensitivity in dealing with the darker past of Anne Perry is definitely laudable. However, having never read any of Perry's books (wrong generation I guess), there was a lot of irrelevant information that I felt I was wading through. The ties between Perry's novels and her own experiences were clear and concise and the information regarding the writing/publishing worlds informative. What I found most inspirational was the diligence Perry showed in her chos...more
Drayton did a great job following the life of Anne Perry, and I found it fascinating. Anne is a wonderful author. The way Drayton wrote about Anne's early years, New Zealand, and how publishers treatment of her and her work evolved. Anne Perry is a woman of great faith.
Newtown Review of Books
The Prelude to The Search for Anne Perry opens in July 1994 with the rumour being broken to Perry’s publishers (could it be true?) that she was in fact teenage murderess Juliet Hulme. Chapter One begins in 1972 when Perry, aged 34, has moved from the US to England ‘to bury herself’. This early part of the book concentrates on her budding career as a writer which, due to many rejections, doesn’t take off for a good five years.

To read full review:
Quite remarkably boring. Far more time is given to analysis of the plots of each of her books than to her life story.
Toni McKilligan
I don't usually care for biographies - the fantasy is, more often than not, better than the reality. But when I learned about Anne Perry's history, I had to give this book a go. And I don't regret it. I've enjoyed Ms. Perry's books for many years and it was a bit of a shock to discover that this mild-mannered English author had a very big skeleton in her closet. The Search for Anne Perry is superbly written and researched. Her career is quite fascinating. I think that Joanne Drayton painted a fa...more
Raewyn Holmes
Loved it! The journey to becoming a successful writer was just as intriging to me as the story behind the writing. Well written and very interesting.
Leanne Rogerson
Compelling read....hardly a thrill a minute but fascinating to find out 50+ years on the story behind 'Heavenly Creatures'. Thought provoking. I think Joanne Drayton has done a fabulous job researching the woman without pointing fingers or excusing anything...simply putting the facts forward and presenting Anne Perry as a woman who has had some major stuff to come to terms with while trying to forge an existence, keeping a low profile, and work out how to live with her own memories.
Jess Probert
I felt the author was totally biased in the way she presented information.. The only slightly objective part was the court trial section, but then the emphasis was back on her books and I didn't pick this book up wanting a synopsis of each of Anne's books, although I'm sure they are all as great as Joanne Drayton expresses them to be. I would have liked more about Anne herself rather than for the focus to have been on her books. I enjoyed most of it, though.
Heather Walker
Love Anne Perry and really enjoyed the parts on her life and thought the murder was handled really well, also her time in prison and her complicated relationship with her family. Anne's realization that her punishment was the result of her actions with no blame on anyone else got her through the entire experience intact. But too many plot summaries - makes you wish maybe there weren't quite so many books!
Brenda Funk
Was a little disappointed in this book, as it was not a very personal biography of an author I really love -- it was more of an analysis of her writings as it pertains to her own long ago experience of crime and murder. I was hoping for a more interesting story of her as a person, and her life as a writer. Filled with way too many long quotes and dissections of her various books.
Melissa Rockenfield
boxing day gift from Tom. Very thoughtful! I devoured the book just like I do her novels. The author was very clever and interspersed tiny pieces of the story of the murder with the story of her life after prison - really focused on her books and those plotlines and how they reflected her past and her spiritual evolution.
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