The Search for Anne Perry by Joanne Drayton


This book and story has been a long time coming, and I for one am glad someone has written it.

It clears up a lot of unanswered questions and more importantly we get to hear the story from Perry’s own perspective.

I can remember when the story broke about Anne Perry and the life she left behind her many years ago. The life of Juliet Hulme, a young girl convicted of conspiring to and actually killing her friends mother. This young girl, murderess at the age of 15, was to go on and become a world renowned author of murder mysteries.

The true story reads like script for a television crime drama.

I along with many others was and still am, an avid reader of Perry’s books, and the revelation of her past was and still is a topic of conversation among bookworms. Where do you draw the line between the book and the personal life of an author? Can and should the personal opinions, personal choices, religious beliefs or political affiliations of authors influence the reader and their decision to buy a book?

Each reader or buyer must make that choice themselves. I own my buying power and you own yours.

Where Perry is concerned I personally think she has paid her debt to society in form of her imprisonment and I can imagine she will still be looking for forgiveness and redemption till she draws her last breath. It is certainly a common thread in many of her books. She is also known for her critical assessment of gender inequality, misogyny, abuse and human suffering in general, regardless of whether it is centred on the Victorian era or in her mythological fantasy.

Her faith and religion plays a major role in some of her books. Tathea is heavily laden and influenced by the Book of Mormon. I think it is safe to say that her faith and the church have been her beacon and support system for a very long time.

What becomes very apparent in this book, is the way Anne is perceived by those that have gotten to know her without knowing her true identity and how those friendships or relationships have stayed intact even after learning the truth. They know and celebrate her as the adult Anne, the person they have learnt to love and admire.

Juliet is the past. Her actions will always be part of who Anne is, but Juliet is merely a chapter in her life. A book and story unto itself, which should be closed and placed on the bookshelf. Nothing will change what happened to Honora Parker.

I think this book could have done with a wee bit more structure. The author weaves in and out of the past and present, from book plots to real life events. Some of the details and comparisons are superfluous, however I think the point the author was trying to make comes through clearly. That point being the use of the crime and Perry’s old or new identity to create media hype over and over again to sell stories.

Only a few of those tasked with writing about it have actually managed to recognize the fact that the penal system has done its job. Juliet acknowledged her guilt and Perry has worked extremely hard to never forget.

I was and still am surprised by the lack of compassion and interest shown towards her both before and after the crime. Neglect, disinterest before and during her internment in an adult prison neither parent visited her. Both mother and father left the continent. Even if Perry managed to rebuild or chase relationships with her parents after her release, their behaviour speaks volumes about they way they treated her.

There is a passage in the book in which Perry talks about the fact she and her mother never spoke about the crime, because her mother didn’t want to. Perry also alludes to the lack of care, parenting, rules and even restraint in their parenting.

Part of me would really like to hear her story, written in her own words and style, but I think she will probably remain stoic in her shouldering of the burden and in doing so lessening the burden for her childhood friend.

I think this book gives an excellent overview of long journey of Anne Perry’s books, with many intricate descriptions and explanations for plots and various new ventures. It is a must have read for fans of Perry. It really gives an outsider a good insight into the extremely long process of publishing and lengthy journey to become a very popular author.
I received a copy of this book via Edelweiss.