Anne Perry, Mystery Writer with Dark Past, Dies at 84



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Mystery writer Anne Perry has died at 84. The author, born Juliet Marion Hulme, passed away in a Los Angeles hospital months after having a heart attack. A prolific mystery and crime writer, Perry published more than 100 books that collectively sold more than 26 million worldwide.

But crime wasn’t only in Perry’s books — when she was 15, she helped her best friend, Pauline Parker, murder her mother. Before adopting the pen name Anne Perry, Juliet was born in London in 1938 to a nuclear scientist and a marriage counselor. She was a sickly child, and as a result, lived with a foster family in the Caribbean to recover from various illnesses. It was after she was sent to live on a private New Zealand island that she met Pauline and the two developed a close relationship.

In an attempt to keep from being separated, Juliet and Pauline concocted a plan to kill Pauline’s mother, Honoah Mary Parker, and together, the two bludgeoned the woman to death in 1954. Though she pleaded not guilty by insanity, Juliet served five years in prison. After her release, she went back to the U.K., became a Mormon, and published her first book The Cater Street Hangman in 1979.

Her largely unknown past as a murderer was exposed by the release of Peter Jackson’s 1994 movie Heavenly Creatures starring Kate Winslet, which was based on the 1954 murder Perry committed with her friend.

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