Friday, August 3, 2012

Exclusive interview with Anne Perry in this week's NZ Listener

There's plenty of interest for crime fiction fans in this week's issue of the New Zealand Listener, an award-winning weekly current affairs magazine with an acclaimed Arts & Books section.

The cover story for this week's issue (dated 4-10 August, but in stores now) is an exclusive interview by Diana Wichtel with reclusive crime writer Anne Perry, who of course is more infamous in this part of the world for her earlier life as Juliet Hulme, one of the culprits in a brutal murder in Christchurch in the 1954 (which was reported around the world at the time, became known as the Parker-Hulme murder, and was later made into an Oscar-nominated film by Peter Jackson, Heavenly Creatures). Perry is about to hit the headlines again due to the release of a biography by Dr Joanne Drayton, who most recently penned an excellent biography of Dame Ngaio Marsh.

Drayton was given unprecedented access to Perry, so will be able to provide a much different perspective to the books and articles that have gone before. No doubt there will be plenty of new material, and hopefully insights, in the biography. I understand Drayton also surveys Perry's crime writing canon - which could be of much interest to fans. Although, of course, it will also be curious to see whether Drayton's close access to Perry will mean that the biography might be more sympathetic than objective, such as can happen with war correspondents who are 'embedded' with military units, and so get a skewed perspective on horrific events. It should make for some good talking points, regardless.

I've read and enjoyed several of Perry's historic crime novels, and I am looking forward to reading Drayton's biography, entitled THE SEARCH FOR ANNE PERRY, which is currently sitting on my bookshelf in front of me. Coupled with Peter Graham's acclaimed and deeply researched expose of the court case and the crime in last year's SO BRILLIANTLY CLEVER, crime fiction fans and other interested readers will now be able to get a much better insight into the crime, the criminal, and the crime writer. Of course, questions and debate will no doubt remain. But it's great to see these works being published.

So for those in New Zealand, make sure you shoot down to your local newsagent, bookstore, or other retailer and grab a copy of this week's Listener, which also includes Ngaio Marsh Award judge Bernard Carpinter's monthly crime and thriller round-up in the Arts & Books section.

For those overseas, Wichtel's interview will hopefully be able to be read online on the Listener website in 2-3 weeks. In the meantime, you can read some snippets here.

Drayton will be discussing her biography in a terrific event at the upcoming The Press Christchurch Writers Festival, on Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 3.30pm. There will also be screenings of the recent documentary, Anne Perry: Interiors, during the festival. See here for the full festival calendar.

You can read more about THE SEARCH FOR ANNE PERRY here:


  1. This is a fascinating story - sure wish I lived in New Zealand, but perhaps I can find a copy of Listener elsewhere? Another good read (this one of fiction, but reads like a true story) is entitled, "The In-Ko-Pah Spirit" by Wally Runnels, an intense book about the Mexican drug cartel in the In-Ko-Pah mountains, which is an isolated region on the Mexican/American Border. Very thrilling.

  2. Sadly, this biography on Perry doesn't tell it all. Not much of insights to the crime either...The author is very sensitive and careful not to step on any toes. And this isn't the very first time Perry talks about the murder in media. There's nothing new to discover about the case in this biography.