Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham
Release Date 5/1/2013
I had heard the story of these murders a few years ago and was shocked that one of the murderers grew up to become author Anne Perry. I watched a couple interviews with Perry on youtube the one below she is being interviewed by fellow author Ian Rankin and it felt to me like Anne Perry still didn’t show much remorse. In the interview with Rankin she still seems so cold and when she said she helped but makes it sound like she did nothing but be by her friends side, but court and medical examiner documents say Mrs. Parker was held by the throat while beaten so did she hold her by the throat or hit her? According to this book she hit her while Pauline held her throat.
But the fact that she is now an accomplished author isn’t what this book is about; this book is about the crime itself and is told in detail from court documents, the girls’ diaries and personal interviews of people who were there at the time. The murder itself is horrific it wasn’t a crime of passion, spur of the moment type of murder this was downright pre-meditated murder, they brought the brick along with them that they used to kill Pauline’s mother, they planned exactly where they would walk to not be seen, planned how to get her mother to bend over so they could hit her. They wanted it to look like an accident but unlike on TV one blow doesn’t always kill, so they hit her over and over and over again, and then ran for help like innocents. Honestly these two may have gotten away with it if one blow would have killed her because at the time no one could fathom a 15 year old girl killing her mother.
The relationship between these girls I believe was a lesbian one and I am NOT saying that is what made them killers, but I think it did play a part because of how taboo these feelings were in 1954. I thought this book also went down a blaming the parents path, Juliet’s mother wasn’t maternal at all and Juliet was sent away for the majority of her childhood and I don’t think ever got much love from her mother and her father was a pat on the head as he is passing through a room type of man. I also didn’t think that Pauline’s mother was so bad I think the Hulme’s used her as scapegoat when they said that Pauline could not accompany them when they left NZ. At times especially during and after the trial I couldn’t help thinking why did they choose Pauline’s mother and not Juliet’s ...that’s harsh I know but there it is.
I think these girls had some kind of mental illness maybe not the ones that Dr.Medlicott tried and re-tried to pin on these girls but there was some form of mental illness or at least diminished capacity that led these 2 girls into this almost dream world where they were all that mattered and their imaginings could come true if certain people were out of the way, which is another good thing about them being caught so quickly , if they had gotten away with it and still been kept apart who would have died next?
These girls each ended up doing about 5 years in prison and I guess when you are 15 at the time of sentencing that is a long time, neither went out and murdered anyone else they each went their separate ways and as I said Juliet became Anne Perry, Pauline Parker tried to become a nun but was turned down but ended up living a very solitary life in the service of others and seems to have spent her life making amends for her crime.
This was a fascinating book about a horrific crime, I did find at first all the different names these girls called each other was a little confusing and was glad when the author went back to calling them the names they went by and not the pet names. But I think if you are interested in true crime books give this one a go. I wish there had been picture of the girls when they were younger or at trial it always makes it more "real" in a non-fiction.
I received this book from Edelwiess & the publisher for a fair and honest review.
Ian Rankin’s Interview of Anne Perry