In 1954 two teenage friends, Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, took a walk in a New Zealand park with Pauline’s mother, Honora. Half an hour later, the mother lay dead. The girls claimed there had been a terrible accident, but the crime scene and subsequent investigation revealed a much darker truth – the girls had brutally murdered her.
Known as one of New Zealand’s worst killings, the Parker/Hulme case made headlines around the world and set off an interest in the murder that is as strong today as it was then. Thousands of articles were written, dozens of books, stage plays and even movies were made (including Peter Jackson’s award-winning ‘Heavenly Creatures’). What drove two schoolgirls to commit such a terrible crime? Were the pair simply insane, or was it due to the bizarre fantasy world they created in order to explore ideas about writing, movie stars and sex?
Peter Graham has fashioned a well-researched, eminently readable and totally engrossing book that takes us from the girls’ early lives to the murder and beyond, exploring the many theories put forward both at the time and since. Though the book still leaves questions unanswered, Graham is a master of his craft and lays out the evidence in a logical sequence that will thrill lovers of true crime everywhere.
But what of Anne Perry?
Though I had heard of her (and had also seen the movie), I hadn’t made the connection between the best-selling crime writer and the schoolgirl who used to be known as Juliet Hulme. This book shines an interesting light on Perry’s writing ability, as well as exploring her and Pauline’s lives since the murder.
A fascinating book that tells a horrifying story with panache and piercing insight. Read it now.