Monday, September 24, 2012

MURDER WHAT? MONDAY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In my post on Friday, I reviewed the frightening movie Heavenly Creatures. The plot for this movie is based on an infamous 1954 murder in New Zealand.

Two 15-year-old girls, who had developed an extremely intense relationship based on shared fantasies, feared they would be separated when Juliet Hulme's parents divorced and her family moved to England. Thinking if they eliminated Pauline Parker's mother from the equation that Pauline would be allowed to go along to England, the two murdered Pauline's mother. They were considered too young to be given the death penalty. They were sent to separate prisons. Each served five and a half years.

So what happened to the girls when they were released from prison? Juliet Hulme left New Zealand very quickly to live in England with her mother and step-father. Pauline Parker was on probation until 1965. When her probation ended, she, too, left the country.

When the movie Heavenly Creatures was released, a curious public -- and the media -- wanted to know where the women now lived, if they were still alive. And they are. Both changed their names. It was discovered that Pauline Parker lives in rural Scotland. She taught handicapped children for many years and now has a riding school. Juliet Hulme, who lives in a different part of Scotland, was also outed, which was a great surprise to those who read her books, for Juliet Hulme took the name Anne Perry and became a successful, award winning writer of crime novels.
Juliet Hulme


Anne Perry


So my question today is a little more complicated than usual: Do you think it's all right if someone who committed a murder makes a living writing murder mysteries? Would you buy a book by Anne Perry? 

I know it's been many, many years since two 15 year olds committed this crime, but I'm disturbed that Anne Perry makes a living -- and a very good living -- by writing about crimes.

Juliet Hulme may have changed her name to Anne Perry, but she's still a murderer. I would not buy a book by Anne Perry, and I don't say that merely because I don't read crime novels. Criminals should not benefit in any way from the crimes they've committed. Anne Perry has a personal relationship with the mind of a murderer.

How do you feel about this situation? Is it okay that Anne Perry writes about crime because she committed her crime so long ago? Is it all right as long as she doesn't use details from the crime she committed? Do you think it's all right if someone who committed a murder makes a living writing murder mysteries? Would you buy a book by Anne Perry?

I'm eager to know what you think.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

33 comments:

  1. I agree! I would not buy a book by her... There is something terribly wrong with her if she would continue in life writing such books, in my opinion.

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    1. Bobbi, why revisit the past in that fashion? I think she used her past to become wealthy.

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  2. That's a toughie. Fifteen-year-olds can do some very stupid things. Psychiatrists say their minds aren't fully developed yet, so they can make some very bad decisions. One would think, though, that most fifteen-year-olds would know it's wrong to physically harm another person, and these two girls evidently planned and executed the murder plot. Creepy stuff. Did their time in prison rehabilitate them? I would certainly hope so. If they've paid their debt to society, do they now have the right to earn a living? Again, I would hope so. If Perry is making a good living at writing books, she must have some talent, and hey! Better for her to write about murder than commit them. I have no problem with her making a living in this manner. Not saying I'm going to run out and buy her books, though.

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    1. The authorities believed they had been rehabilitated, or they wouldn't have been released. Yet criminals are often released only to commit more crimes. I agree that it's a toughie, and I'm disturbed by it.

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  3. I don't think I would buy a book that a criminal wrote, especially one who committed murder. :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing your opinion, Alex.

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  4. This is indeed disturbing as I have read Anne Perry books. I had no idea what she had done. No, I wouldn't buy another one of her books now. I have to agree with you on this one Jane.

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    1. Knowledge is power. I would have more respect for Anne Perry if she had been open about her past in the beginning. She behaved the way a guilty person would, and she is guilty.

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  5. I find the thought that she is still thinking up detailed murder plots for publishing very disturbing. I would not buy one of her books. If she had changed her lifestyle in a positive direction, like the other girl did, then I could see supporting it (like if she wrote children's books or trained guide dogs).

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  6. Yeah, I would. IF you didn't know the full story and you read her works and liked them all would be good. We all have a past and done things that would keep us from being elected to office, but we are different now. You are willing to vote of Obama with all his lies and anti-American shenanigans yet you won't read a fiction story by someone who has evolved into a strong lady from a troubled teen?

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    1. Who says she's a strong lady? Well, I guess she was strong when she and her friend used a brick to beat Pauline's mother to death. And President Obama is not a murderer. He's our President. I was taught to show respect for the president of our country, whether or not I intend to vote for him.

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  7. It's hard for me to imagine what took place. That's a strong reaction. Getting murder mysteries from someone who actually committed a murder is a real as you can have it. I guess she probably does a good job knowing that she knows exactly what to do and the kind of mind it takes to commit such a crime.

    15-year-olds are really "crazy" though. I'm not condoning poor/tragic choices, but do these kids really know what they're doing?

    On the other hand, I don't think Anne should be allowed to sell those books and keep the money. It's seems sinister.... I think the money should go to a fund for victims of crimes or something else.

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    1. I like your idea for the money to go to charity, especially to help victims of crime, Peaches. The girls were not found not guilty by reason of insanity, so they were judged as knowing what they did was wrong.

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  8. Dear Janie, I've never known the background of Anne Perry. However, I've read many of her books: the five in the World War I series and several in the Wm. Monk mystery series. Your questions are provocative. Was she arrested for murder all those years ago? If not, and she is known now--or "outed" as you said--why hasn't she been arrested?

    I honestly believe in second chances. A number of writers began books while in prison and later had them published. Who better to explore the mind of a criminal than a criminal--so long as he/she has left that life behind. Peace.

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    1. Yes, she was arrested along with Pauline Parker. They were charged with murder and went to prison for 5 1/2 years. I believe in second chances, too, but for a murderer to profit from her crime is going too far.

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  9. It should certainly make the books interesting!

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    1. Her books must be interesting -- she's sold millions.

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  10. Wow! That is really scary! I don't think I could buy one of her books. It just doesn't seem right. I wonder what kind of person she is today. Kind of gives me the shivers!

    I gave you a Daisy. It's over at my blog.

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  11. Hmmm. I dont know? Probably not.... although I am currently reading a book by Jeffrey Dahmer... and its "deliciously" entertaining.

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  12. Wow, I think that is totally amazing. First, England has strict rules on who teaches children. They have to go through rigorous criminal records, even minor misdemeanour's such as shop-lifting are taken into account.
    I definitely wouldn't buy a book from either of them. Once a murderer there is always something sinister lurking there.
    I remember watching the movie and thinking how could anyone hate their parents so much.
    Very interesting and enlightening post.

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    1. Pauline Parker was able to leave the past behind when she changed her name. Other staff members at the school where she taught had no idea who she really was, and the people of her village in Scotland didn't know either.

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  13. I'd like to think that people can change their lives after doing time, but honestly that kind of creeps me out. Like a serial rapist that now works in a women's shelter. It's just too close to the crime, ya know?

    Now if she wrote children's books or self help books, I may feel completely different.

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    1. Exactly, Juli. I wouldn't mind if she wrote a different type of book.

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  14. I know she served her time and was young and is free to make a living any way she chooses...but it is a bit odd. I guess I have to agree, though, that it's better she is writing about murders than committing them. From the sounds of it neither of the women has ever been in a trouble since then. If she has won awards she is a good writer. I just wish she had chosen another genre. Will I read any of her books? Honestly, I might. Only because I will totally forget her name--LOL! I am terrible with names...and I do enjoy good writing. ;)

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    1. I love your comments, Rita. You might read her books because you'll forget her name. tee hee

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  15. I don't understand how someone can murder their own mother or someone else's so they can stay together as friends. That's very disturbing in the first place. Don't think I'd want to read/buy her books regardless, as I'm not a fan of that genre. The whole history of both girls is very odd though. Hopefully, there was lots of therapy involved in their rehabilitation.

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    1. I don't think therapy was advanced in the mid 50s as it is now. Anne Perry was sentenced to hard labor. She said in an interview that she had to work till she passed out. That kind of work might be more rehabilitating than therapy. I know I wouldn't want to go back to prison.

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  16. I agree with Dee on this one. If her books are really good than I would like to read them.

    However, the fact that she's a murderer does bother me, but since the WHOLE WORLD know who she is and what she's done, I think she doesn't feel very comfortable herself. no matter how much money she makes. I know I wouldn't.

    But I respect your opinion as well :) great post.

    -B-

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    1. And I respect your opinion as well. Thanks for commenting!

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  17. People keep saying that Anne Perry is making a profit from a crime she committed. That is completely wrong.
    She wrote for a very long time without being able to get anything published. It was her step-father Bill Perry who advised her to try writing murder mysteries based in the victorian period. He had an interest in that period, in particular the Jack the Ripper case. So Anne Perry did extensive research on that medium and publishers accepted her book 'The Cater Street Hangman' She has gone on from there and also written other books including her World War One series.
    So, she does not make a profit from a crime. She makes a profit because she has a tremendous talent at writing and is now one of the worlds best known crime doyenne's.

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