THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB discussion

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message 1: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Oct 02, 2010 06:15PM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
I am having a conflict of conscience- I recently purchased an Anne Perry Omnibus- her writing and detective William Monk appeal to me a great deal- but I read that as a younger person she committed a horrific murder... what more- in a very distant way- JAMES MASON!!! is involved- read on- and I am interested to know your thoughts on Anne Perry and if her past affects your reading of her books
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The daughter of Dr. Henry Hulme, an English physicist, Anne Perry (then known as Juliet Hulme) was diagnosed with tuberculosis as a child and sent to the Caribbean and South Africa in hopes that a warmer climate would improve her health. She rejoined her family when her father took a position as Rector of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand when she was 13.

Together with her school friend Pauline Parker, Hulme murdered Parker's mother, Honora Rieper,[1] in June 1954. Hulme's parents were in the process of separating, and she was supposed to go to South Africa to stay with a relative. The two teenage girls, who had created a rich fantasy life together populated with famous actors such as James Mason and Orson Welles, did not want to be separated. They had hoped to go to England with Hulme's father after the divorce.

[edit] Murder and trial
Main article: Parker-Hulme murder
On 22 June 1954, the girls took Honora Rieper for a walk in Victoria Park in their hometown of Christchurch. On an isolated path Hulme dropped an ornamental stone so that Ms. Rieper would lean over to retrieve it. At that point, Parker had planned to hit her mother with half a brick wrapped in a stocking. The girls presumed that would kill the woman. Instead, it took 45 frenzied blows from both girls to finally kill Honora Rieper. The brutality of the crime has contributed to its notoriety.

Parker and Hulme stood trial in Christchurch in 1954, and were found guilty on August 29 of that year. As they were too young to be considered for the death penalty under New Zealand law at the time, they were convicted and sentenced to be "detained at Her Majesty's pleasure". In practice, this sentence meant they were to be detained at the discretion of the Minister of Justice. They were released separately some five years later. A condition of their release was that they were never to meet or contact each other again.

Parker and Hulme are not believed to have had any contact since their trial, as required by the conditions of their release.[2]

These events formed the basis for the 1994 film Heavenly Creatures, in which Melanie Lynskey portrayed a teenage Pauline Parker and Kate Winslet portrayed teenaged Juliet Hulme.


message 2: by Werner (new)

Werner Rick, before you shared this, I was aware that Perry did time for a murder committed as a teenager, though I didn't know the horrifying details. I've never read any of her work, but I think the reviews of it that I've read are intriguing, and I wouldn't mind reading the first novel in her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series (if I ever find a copy of it), despite her past. Obviously, I don't condone what she did! But I do believe that human beings ARE genuinely capable of repentance, moral growth and change for the better --indeed, that's one great truth that the best of our literary heritage reflects. While I know very little about her personality and life today, 56 years later, I like to hope that's true in her case. (And yes, I think that part of her total experience in life would give her a kind of insight into the feelings and motivations of characters who commit murder that some other authors might not possess.)


message 3: by Thalia (new)

Thalia I have nearly assembled her entire collection (over the course of two years, all in used paperbacks) because if you read one you must keep going as they are linked. Her books are not based on her own crime so she's not trying to live off of an illegal and dispicable act.


TinCanKreations (TCCreationsKable) | 55 comments hm...sounds like an interesting read in my opinion, possible great opportunity


message 5: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) I saw the movie years ago, before I ever started reading her books. And, frankly, I didn't connect the author with those books. However, after I had read a couple, someone asked if I knew that she had been one of the people that the movie was about. And I said no, I didn't.

And I do recall now that she was trying to live down the past all the time it was being brought back up.

I think she has three series now - the Pitts, the Monk series and I think there may be one (I haven't read any of these yet) taking place around WWI.


message 6: by Thalia (last edited Oct 02, 2010 05:25PM) (new)

Thalia yes, the first two are victorian england. she has 44 titles I believe published all in all


message 7: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Oct 02, 2010 06:24PM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Nanette wrote: "Rick,

I think this case was on one of those shows like Cold Case Files or Forensic Files....

I haven't read any of her books, but I would say that yes, her past would definitely affect my rea..."


Nanette
To be honest- I have yet to read any of her books- I purchased the 3 book Omnibus before I heard that she was a murderess- yes I believe in redemption- but I also believe that there is an innocent lady- brutally murdered- who never had the opportunity for "redemption" as a result of Anne Perry and her friend's horrific and cruel crime- I really don't think I can read her- I would be thinking of her poor (real life) victim the whole time


message 8: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) Some people are leaders and some are followers. Not sure who was who in this instance. But if the wrong follower falls in with the wrong leader, so to speak, bad things are likely to happen.

I say this as a follower who has often (mainly in the past) fallen in with bad company and found myself doing things I would never have done on my own. Nothing really illegal. They were the liars and thieves and I found myself just going along with the program.

Hopefully, those days are behind me.


message 9: by Thalia (new)

Thalia do keep in mind she was a child.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Thalia wrote: "do keep in mind she was a child."

A teen is in my opinion not a child- and her young age doesnt bring her INNOCENT victim back to life


message 11: by Ann (new)

Ann Marie (authorannmarie) | 29 comments Wow...I had never heard any of that at all and would not know the author or any of her titles without your enlightening me...my question would be this -- has she sold more books because of who she is or because she is really good...I myself would never spend a dime to support a criminal...I do not care what the crime...I may pick one up in a library if it was a suggested read


message 12: by Capsguy (new)

Capsguy (goodreadscomcapsguy) Doesn't really matter, it appears as if what she had authored is nothing but pulp fiction. She will be forgotten.


message 13: by Jane (new)

Jane (JaneLitChic) | 2 comments Hi Rick,
I haven't been able to bring myself to read any of her books due to her past... There was a lot of publicity here in New Zealand about the case around the time that Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures" was released and I remember how shocked I was at the brutality of the crime. It was a particularly violent and brutal murder. I'm a little skeptical about someone who earns a living writing crime novels when they have been convicted for murder...
However, I would definitely recommend seeing "Heavenly Creatures" if you haven't already seen it...


message 14: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Alley (traceya) I tend to agree with Jane that it's a little odd that someone who committed such a brutal crime makes a living out of writing crime novels - kinda makes you wonder where her head is at but that could be just me. I'd feel a little weird about reading her books but then on the other hand I read Charles Manson's autobiography, written by Nuel Emmons and found it an interesting if sometimes self-serving read. Bit conflicted really.


message 15: by Thalia (last edited Oct 03, 2010 06:37AM) (new)

Thalia please don't be offended but I wonder if some of you are being a bit harsh, especially when we probably know very little of the facts. Wikipedia doesn't really cut it. Personally I may draw the line at someone trying to make money off their own crime (writing a book about what they did) because I don't want them to profit off of it. This woman writes under a different name (to me that at least appears to try and separate herself from her past not use it to promote it) and writes detective and historical murder mystery FICTION. And what about authors like Ann Rule, who write true crime books? Is she as easily distained also?


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Thalia wrote: "please don't be offended but I wonder if some of you are being a bit harsh, especially when we probably know very little of the facts. Wikipedia doesn't really cut it. Personally I may draw the l..."

personally I have little time for True Crime writers who make money off of horrific crimes (Unless they share profits with the victims' family members)


message 17: by Mary C (new)

Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) I've read many Anne Perry books and knew all along that she was Juliette Hulme. I enjoyed her books. As far as I can tell, none of her books have had anything to do with what happened when she was a teenager. She writes mostly historical mysteries. I decided not to hold her past against her. I'm sure I would have felt different if she had been say a convicted child molester or a serial killer.


message 18: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) I agree with Mary. I've read a number of her books and it doesn't really bother me.

Ann Rule, on the other hand, became a true crime author after working with Ted Bundy. She probably saw a million signs of what Ted Bundy really was but didn't see them for what they were. I have no time for her, although I might have one of her books on my shelf.

I read the Bugliosi book about the Tate-LoBianca murders and the Manson trial. But I would never read an "autobiography" about Manson. I would probably never read another book about the Mansons period. They should just throw away the key on all of them.


message 19: by Connie (new)

Connie Faull | 19 comments Personally, I won't watch a Woody Allen film, listen to Michael Jackson, help to put money in Jane Fonda's pockets (I'm a vet) and now that I've heard this story I won't be reading Anne Perry. I get the whole redemption thing, but imo there are some crimes that quite frankly you can never redeem yourself from (child abuse/pedophilia, rape,& 1st or 2nd degree murder). We were all teenagers and I'd venture to say 99.9999% of us got out without helping to kill either our parents, our friends' parents or anyone else for that matter.

Our society tends to give too many free passes to people who are either wealthy, famous or creative for their crimes that if our neighbors committed (or were just accused of) them we wouldn't be so generous.

Personally, I can't in good conscience, support someone who was convicted of such a heinous, cold-blooded, and calculating crime. Think about it, what does it take to commit that sort of atrocity (sp?) (I can't even imagine what kind of humanbeing does that).


message 20: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) I don't watch recent Woody Allen movies. I will still watch movies that came before the scandal, however. I also don't watch Mel Gibson movies anymore. And I used to enjoy him.

Although I, too, am a vet I have no problem with Jane Fonda. Never did. It is just politics. Anything that would have helped bring that war to an end was worth it. I am not trying to open up a 40-year-old fight.


message 21: by Emma (new)

Emma | 73 comments Wow, my grandmother is going to be very disappointed...I recently picked up a copy of one of her books from the library, but I am now hesitant to read it. I had NO idea about this, Rick, thank you for sharing. Being on the path to a Ph.D in psychology makes me feel that I shouldn't judge her for her actions, but the fact that it was her friend's mother, a premediated act, and she was not, technically speaking, "a child", I have a hard time "forgiving" her. Although the forgiveness is not mine to give, I now have a tainted view of her and her writing, and am not sure I would be able to enjoy her mysteries.


message 22: by Connie (new)

Connie Faull | 19 comments Jan C wrote: "I don't watch recent Woody Allen movies. I will still watch movies that came before the scandal, however. I also don't watch Mel Gibson movies anymore. And I used to enjoy him.

Although I, too,..."


You're right - I forgot about Mel Gibson, I won't support his movies either.

As for Jane Fonda it wasn't her protesting the Vietnam war or our government that I have a problem with. It is her 1972 visit she made to Hanoi where she stood with Viet Cong leaders and her publicly calling returning American POWs liars when they spoke of torture & starvation that they were subjected to during their imprisonments.

To me that's like a movie star today going to Afghanistan and standing hand-in-hand with Taliban leaders. It's a line that shouldn't be crossed.


message 23: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) I didn't have a problem with her visit. I was only shortly out of the Marine Corps at that time.

I also didn't have a problem with Joan Baez' visit.

Of course these stars would call the POWs liars - they were only shown what the Vietcong wanted them to see.

They were the victims of two propagandas at the same time. They couldn't win once they went. They spoke of what they saw, not necessarily of what actually happened.

I note that you are a few years younger than those of us who served during the time of the war. Those people are pretty split on the position.

I know a lot of people objected to some visit Sean Penn made since the present war has been going on.

All of these people were just looking for peace and understanding of the situation.


message 24: by Curt (new)

Curt Lorde | 54 comments If the two teen girls had been of the lower "set" while still horrific, the crime would have been shrugged off as " That's how those People are". They betrayed the Rules. Its a longer lasting news story when a kids from upper middle class and up backgrounds commits heavy criminal acts. "Why did they do that? They had everything!"


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Connie wrote: "Personally, I won't watch a Woody Allen film, listen to Michael Jackson, help to put money in Jane Fonda's pockets (I'm a vet) and now that I've heard this story I won't be reading Anne Perry. I g..."

Perfectly stated Connie


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
As far as the Jane Fonda's, Sean(Fidel Castro) Penn, and the Jew-Hating Oliver Stone- these folks make millions living in the world of make believe - who really cares what these people who have no clue concerning anything not written on a script for them to read in front of a camera- or in Stone's case writing fantasy movies and calling docu-dramas- and perverted comments "The U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League on Monday slammed filmmaker Oliver Stone for comments he made to The Sunday Times of London, calling the film director's views "anti-Semitic."

Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, said: "Oliver Stone has once again shown his conspiratorial colors with his comments about 'Jewish domination of the media' and control over U.S. foreign policy. His words conjure up some of the most stereotypical and conspiratorial notions of undue Jewish power and influence."

The ADL said Stone used an old stereotype "in a particularly egregious fashion by suggesting that Hitler has gotten an unfair shake because of Jewish influence."
When asked in an interview with the Sunday Times of London why he focused on the Holocaust in his latest filmmaking project, Stone replied: "The Jewish domination of the media."

He added: "They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years."
Remember that next time you see Oliver Stone


message 27: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) Rick wrote: "As far as the Jane Fonda's, Sean(Fidel Castro) Penn, and the Jew-Hating Oliver Stone- these folks make millions living in the world of make believe - who really cares what these people who have no ..."

Lord knows that I hate to agree in any way, shape or form with Oliver Stone, but his comment is correct. We are chained to Israel - and don't make me out to be anti-Semitic or anything like that. I don't think I am anyway. I do not consider the media dominated by Jews. I've worked with them for years and went to school with them for years before that. Never had a problem. Still don't.

But your mistake was bringing politics into it. Our foreign policy is tied to Israel's. We refrain from doing things all the time because of the threat from various Arab nations of what they might do to Israel. So, yes, we are screwed up our friendship with them. Possibly they are also screwed up by their with us, but I don't see them taking us into consideration as much as we do for them.

I don't generally see any Oliver Stone movies either. Sometimes I will still watch him on TV.

But I won't watch Mel Gibson anywhere.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Jan C wrote: "Rick wrote: "As far as the Jane Fonda's, Sean(Fidel Castro) Penn, and the Jew-Hating Oliver Stone- these folks make millions living in the world of make believe - who really cares what these people..."

I understand your point of view- and I certainly agree that bringing politics into a book group is a big NO NO!! accept my appologies and lets move back to the Anne Perry Question!!


message 29: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) Okay.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
In the past hours I have looked through the Anne Perry novels I have at home- and they really seem like my type!!!! just so hard to get past the fact of her past- but some excellant points have been brought out by all who have posted!


message 31: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) I don't always think about the author when I'm reading a book. If I'm thinking about the author, then I'm probably not much into the story. Once you start reading, the author should disappear.

For instance, I enjoy the Charles Todd books but I don't think about the fact that they are written by two people.

The writing should just take over. Or else you are wasting time on the book. There are so many better books out there.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Jan C wrote: "I don't always think about the author when I'm reading a book. If I'm thinking about the author, then I'm probably not much into the story. Once you start reading, the author should disappear.

F..."


very good point, Jan
I love the Preston/Lincoln thrillers- and yet never think- "ok- did Douglas Preston write this part and Lincoln Child write this part! I simply enjoy the books as great stories


message 33: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Alley (traceya) I guess we all have our own line in the sand that our conscience dictates we do not cross. I've read True Crime novels and watched documentaries, usually to try and understand how the human psyche can break to that particular point. While I'm doing it though I have to be honest - I'm not really thinking about where the money's going or who's benefiting and maybe I should.


message 34: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (cinnabarb) | 4835 comments Mod
I've read many Anne Perry novels and had no idea she was the infamous Juliet Hulme. That's a shocker. That said, though, I think she's a pretty good writer. Her books generally have interesting characters and plots and (at least in the Monk and Pitt sering series) highlight social injustices of their time. It's always satisfying to see the snobs and deviants get their come-uppance in her stories. I don't think I'd boycott her books now that I know she's a murderer but I can understand the sentiments of those who do.


message 35: by Connie (last edited Oct 04, 2010 07:03AM) (new)

Connie Faull | 19 comments Rick wrote: "In the past hours I have looked through the Anne Perry novels I have at home- and they really seem like my type!!!! just so hard to get past the fact of her past- but some excellant points have bee..."

You know, I think Rick, that since you already paid for them, you might as well read them and if her past bothers you, just don't buy any more of her books. I still watch Jane Fonda movies and will probably watch another Mel Gibson movie, I just don't want to put any more money into their pockets, so I don't pay to see them at the movies or purchase them On Demand, but if they come on HBO or Showtime, I'll still watch if it's a movie I'm interested in.


message 36: by Connie (new)

Connie Faull | 19 comments Tracey wrote: "I guess we all have our own line in the sand that our conscience dictates we do not cross. I've read True Crime novels and watched documentaries, usually to try and understand how the human psyche..."

I agree Tracey, I read an Ann Rule book to understand what happened. Newspapers (and some magazines) write about crimes, just not in as much detail as in a book. Although, given what Rick said I may just look for them if they are free or get them from the library if I ever feel a need to read another Ann Rule/true crime book again. However, the book I did read, the crime was so incredibly heinous - young teenage girls killing another teenage girl - even poring drain cleaner down her throat- that I haven't wanted to pick up another true crime book since. It was just so disturbing that there are actually people out there who commit this type of crime (and as teens). I prefer to live in my world of blissful ignorance and think that these types of crimes are only thought up in some very creative author's mind and put in the form of fiction!!


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Connie wrote: "Rick wrote: "In the past hours I have looked through the Anne Perry novels I have at home- and they really seem like my type!!!! just so hard to get past the fact of her past- but some excellant po..."

very good point!


message 38: by Marts (new)

Marts  (Thinker) (thinkersutopia) | 21 comments I've only read one Anne Perry book thus far, that's 'Dark Assassin' with detective Monk. I quite enjoyed it so I think I really need to explore some more of her work!


message 39: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Alley (traceya) Connie you're quite right - a lot of True Crime stuff is sickening beyond belief and that I usually close the book on or turn off. My only defence, and it's probably a poor one at that, is that when the time came for me to write a really evil villain I think I got her nailed because I incorporated so much real life into her. That's the biggest reason why my witch gets so little air time - she's a very, very nasty character.


message 40: by Lori (new)

Lori | 6 comments I have read Anne Perry's Monk series. I enjoy the character of William Monk...a man who is haunted by a past he can only glimpse due to a severe injury that has rendered him mostly amnesiac. It is an interesting way to set up a character who must uncover information for a living.

I found out about Anne Perry's past after I had read one or two of her books. I was shocked. (And I had already seen the film, Heavenly Creatures...but did not tie the Juliette Hulme character in with Anne Perry at all.)

However, this did not prevent me from checking her books out of the library. I base my reading choices on the plot/information promised within. As many authors are practically anonymous, we have no real idea how they conduct their lives outside of their novels. I have no idea which other authors I have read whose personal lives would offend/upset me. (As a librarian, I was under obligation to purchase authors from all different points of view vis-a-vis politics, religion etc.)

My assumption is that Anne Perry is still haunted by her own crime. Writing is therapeutic for many people. She will never 'atone' for what she did -- certainly not through writing detective fiction. But, dealing with characters who did what she did (commit murder) may be her way of grappling with her guilt. This is only armchair psych -- so who knows?


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
since I already bought her book- I guess I will read at least one of Anne Perry's novels even though she bashed a lady's head in


message 42: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Hoffman | 6 comments sometimes we have to separate the artist from the work. although i wouldn't want to sit down and have dinner with or hang out with and talk politics, love/relationship lessons or child rearing with the above-referenced people, i will still read their books and watch their movies. they are great artists if not the kind of person you may want to associate with


message 43: by Emma (new)

Emma | 73 comments I told my grandmother about this, as she was picking up another Anne Perry mystery, and she was stunned. And also a little mad at me that I ruined one of her favorite authors for her. She thought that just knowing that about her made the stories and her writing lose some of their magic and she actually said to me that she lost a little respect for her writing, because she had an unfair "advantage" in gaining insight into a killer's mind.
I found that interesting...
I am now more hesitant to read the one book I own of hers, but I am not completley sure about my own feelings in regards to Anne Perry.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Emma wrote: "I told my grandmother about this, as she was picking up another Anne Perry mystery, and she was stunned. And also a little mad at me that I ruined one of her favorite authors for her. She thought..."

it really is a very complicated issue- I skimmed through a book of hers earlier today- but I really found it difficult to read- the writing was great-but I kept thinking of that poor lady whose head she bashed in


message 45: by Emma (new)

Emma | 73 comments Rick wrote: "Emma wrote: "I told my grandmother about this, as she was picking up another Anne Perry mystery, and she was stunned. And also a little mad at me that I ruined one of her favorite authors for her...."

I agree, I think I would be too distracted thinking about what she did to that woman. Such a violent crime, too, to repeatedly hit someone over the head with a blunt object. I can read it in mystery books, but when it's part of reality, I think I would have a hard time separating it.


message 46: by Jane (new)

Jane | 121 comments Rick - just got back from vacation and read about Anne Perry. I have loved reading her books with the Pitts. I had no idea of her history, but haven't decided yet whether this would have influenced my decision to read her works. I sort of stopped reading her a few years ago just because I lost interest in her.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Jane wrote: "Rick - just got back from vacation and read about Anne Perry. I have loved reading her books with the Pitts. I had no idea of her history, but haven't decided yet whether this would have influenc..."

welcome back Jane! it really is a difficult question- her books appeal to me quite a bit- yet I still harbor thoughts that her horrific past will be hard to overlook while reading any of her novels


message 48: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) I just joined this group, so forgive me for being behind. I have read all three of her series, and enjoyed them immensely. I found out about her past by accident, a few years ago, and was shocked. It did give me pause, but I still continue to read her books and enjoy the Victorian and Edwardian time period that they are based in. However, I'm still disconcerted by the sentence that she and her accomplice received for the crime. Seems a bit lax, considering the nature of the crime.
On a side note, her new novel, The Sheen on the Silk A Novel by Anne Perry is based in Constatinople, before its fall, and is an interesting historical read, but rather wordy and way too long.


message 49: by Heather (new)

Heather | 67 comments Rick/Lisa, I was shocked too when I found out who Perry was. I read about the murder before I saw the movie which was based on the murder, Heavenly Creatures. I won't read her. I just can't, knowing what she did. Granted, she wasn't the one thought of killing but she helped and it was brutal. The fact that she writes about it, in stories it just turns my stomach..


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "Rick/Lisa, I was shocked too when I found out who Perry was. I read about the murder before I saw the movie which was based on the murder, Heavenly Creatures. I won't read her. I just can't, knowin..."

I really feel very much like you Heather


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