Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Search for Anne Perry: The Hidden Life of a Best Selling Crime Writer

Finally...a book that gets inside the head of author Anne Perry in which Perry herself tries to explain what she was thinking 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 entire history of New Zealand, I had high hopes that "The Search for Anne Perry" would answer some of my questions and doubts about Perry. What I did not expect was to come away with much sympathy for Anne Perry, but even that happened - if only a little.

Joanne Drayton managed to get the full cooperation of Anne Perry for this biography despite the fact that Drayton is from New Zealand and that the book would first be published there, a country which Anne Perry is still more than just a little sensitive about (the U.S. edition is new but The Search for Anne Perry was, in fact, published in New Zealand in 2012). For that reason, Search is filled with Anne Perry quotes that help explain how such a terrible murder ever happened, how Perry survived five years in harsh prisons, how her newly acquired Mormon faith allowed her to move on with the rest of her life, and why she believes today that she should be forgiven of her crime. Drayton offers her own analysis, too, often by quoting characters from Perry's books in which it seems that Perry is explaining herself through those fictional characters.

My only complaint - and I did find this irritating - is that Drayton, in the process of quoting those characters often insists on going through much more plot detail than is necessary to make her points about Perry. She sometimes even includes spoilers (for no need) that Anne Perry readers probably will rather not learn. But that's a minor quibble. This book ultimately delivered the goods for me, and for that reason, I am recommending it to others who might still be wondering about Anne Perry's murder conviction and how she kept her past hidden (even from her agents and publishers) for as long as she managed.

See below for a previous post on the Anne Perry murder conviction:

Anne Perry / Juliet Hulme (Revisited)

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