So Brilliantly Clever Parker Hulme and the Murder that

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So Brilliantly Clever Parker Hulme and the Murder that Shocked the World Until this book popped up in my suggestion feed I had no idea that Anne Perry and Juliet Hulme were one and the same As a longtime fan of the Pitt and Monk novels I was uite surprised and than a little disturbedUpon finishing the book I watched Reflections of the Past An Open Discussion of the ParkerHulme Murder Case as well as Anne Perry Interiors both available through streamingMs Perry still takes little responsibility for her actions so long ago In her own words she says she knew it was stupid but if she didn't go along Pauline would kill herself It's interesting to see that now she lives in a remote area of Scotland the center of the universe for the few people who are around her on a daily basis; her every need and wish catered to and by their own admission her moods affecting those of the people around her She controls the life of every person she allows to inhabit her worldNot unlike the young Juliet described in Mr Graham's book Most interesting to learn is that MsPerry handwrites all her novels employing a typist who comes in daily I wonder if this harkens back to her young days of writing fanciful stories with her friend PaulineThe book itself is very well researched; we see a portrait of what family life was like for the girls and how their obsession for each other came to the violent crescendo which caused the death of Honorah Parker I do wish there were details about what happened to Pauline while she was in custody for example did she get the same level of therapy Juliet was treated to And why wasn't she given a new name and hustled out of the country upon release as was JulietIt's a pity that we do not have Juliet's diaries from that period to compare with Pauline's which were so damning during the trial Alas all we have are Ms Perry's words today which play down her own involvement and lay the blame suarely with Pauline When she finally shows emotion at the end of the Interiors film it seems so contrived as to be chillingWe learn from the book that Pauline now has a new name; she has lived the majority of her life as a recluse since her release from prison Ironically the girls have lived only about a hundred miles apart for uite some time though there is no indication they've met since being releasedI'd recommend the book for anyone who reads true crime genre; but don't expect a feeling of resolution once completed There are simply too many unanswered uestions left and Ms PerryJuliet doesn't appear anxious to reveal the whole truth anytime soon I read this as part of my New Zealand November reading project in 2015 I rediscovered the title when interviewing two women from my in person book club and they were talking about how they use the nominations list as a to read list often reading books that weren't voted into one of the nine selections for the year They both mentioned this one as a title they wish we had as a pick And perhaps the only one we ever came close to set in New ZealandThis is a journalistic account of two girls Juliet and Pauline who are convicted of brutally murdering Pauline's mother in a New Zealand park in 1954 The author goes into deep detail about the girls and their childhoods but also the parents and their background the war the neighbors the school systems the attorneys even the police For me it was often too much detail and I felt like the author was trying hard to make this into a book length story It might be interesting to watch Peter Jackson's film Heavenly Creatures which is based on this story and also well researched Even in the trailer I heard bits of Pauline's journal that I know from this bookAnother issue I had was that it seemed the author was trying to interpret the actions of the girls through what we know now about psychology mental illness etc But goodness from previous books I've read from New Zealand ideas on how to treat people with any sort of mental differences in the 1950s was incredibly minimal I also think psychology is intended as a lens not as facts At one point he says something about how the girls got rid of their superegos and my response was to think that we explain people through idegosuperego but it's not like something we can identify rather like a journalist identifying the moment a person lost their soul HaIt was interesting in the tabloid sense and I'm not surprised that this was international news at the time but I don't particularly enjoy trips through such disturbing content Exploring it doesn't explain anything about human nature to me except to point out that children need loving childhoods with parents who don't just ship them off to Barbados ETA I saw the movie Heavenly Creatures which is currently on Netflix streaming in the USA and thought it was than enough of this story It had the same interesting bits this book does although it seems to put blame on one girl than the other It's Kate Winslet's film debut I have to be honest say that Pauline Parker Juliet Hulme must have been two of the most arrogant conceited affected straight out unlikeable teenagers ever to walk on this planet Juliet Hulme did also have eually unlikeable in the case of her father uncaring parents Pauline's father appears to have been very distant with his children It is certainly ironic that the only parent who made any attempt to actually parent was seen as the obstacle in the way of Juliet Pauline's naive dreams of Hollywood stardomSo they decided to kill herHonorah Rieper as she was known when alive after her death it was discovered that she Bert Rieper had never married died a horrible brutal death Both girls took part in the killing with extreme enthusiasm in spite of Hulme's later self serving denials still appeared to think they were so brilliantly clever even after their arrests They were both found sane enough to stand trial convicted served 5 years in prison After their release from separate prisons they changed their names in Hulme's case twice disappeared Proving that truth can be stranger than fiction Hulme became successful murder mystery writer Anne Perry Being outed may have even helped her career Parker is believed to have been remorseful in later years but has never agreed to be interviewedA fascinating story but it is let down in the 2011 Awa Press edition by typos missing commas repeated words A shame as Graham writes well he just needed a better proof readerAnother fault is Graham repeats the rumour that Hilda Hulme had their gardener destroy Juliet's diary It is a reasonable assumption that Juliet kept a journal Pauline did Graham uotes extensively from it but there is no proofA book that will give me nightmares for days to come During my teens and twenties I read uite a bit of crime both fictional and non Eventually I dropped the true crime because it was just depressing Real crime isn't clever motives are frankly stupid and the criminals are largely just blundering about That's all true here Certainly there was premeditation but the planning wasn't terribly rigorous Two teen girls who loved each other didn't want to be separated so they killed the mother they blamed for not letting the be together They were arrested charged and convicted Five years later they were each released changed their names and went on to lead apparently blameless lives Admittedly one seemed to feel guilty and try to make it up to society the other came up with numerous it wasn't my fault sorts of excuses but both of them largely eschewed the worldSo what Well I spent a lot of time pondering the fact that we recognize specific mental illnesses as a mitigating factor but not this But surely the belief that some half cocked plan for murder or kidnapping or robbery or whatever that this mess could possibly work surely that is itself a troubling symptom of something I don't even know what but something is manifestly wrong When a man allegedly shoots his three neighbors over a parking dispute don't most people hear that news and think he's crazy Not schizophrenic or any real diagnosis that can be found in the DSMV but we realize that this is just fundamentally wrong I wonder what that isThe other thing I thought about is is what is the appropriate penalty Obviously the girls wouldn't have been helped by an indefinite sentence in a mental institution; neither had anything wrong with them except that they did this heinous thing And although we tend to talk in the US about murder as a crime reuiring the death penalty or a life sentence I'm not sure why What possible use is that to anyone Five years seems like a very short time for a murder but clearly it was enough time to teach them both not to do it again if they ever would have considered otherwise which probably they wouldn't because most people who commit murder once don't ever do it again Maybe five years was just enough time for their brains to grow past an impulsive phase Maybe arrest and trial and jail were ghastly enough to teach a lesson I don't know why the sentence was sufficient but it wasI'm not clear what if any probation restraints they might have been under but because they were both released under new identities they effectively got to complete their educations while in jail and then move on to new lives without any past That's rather counter to the current notion where someone has to acknowledge a felony conviction on everything for the rest of their life and should they forget a background check will bring it up Knee jerk reaction is horror that a murderer should be able to get a job teaching disabled children as one of them did although I can't think of a reason why she shouldn'tI guess what makes the book so fascinating to me is that because one of the two girls became famous and the case itself always was we've got a really surprising amount of knowledge about the aftermath One doesn't often hear about what happens after the trial even in well publicized cases It's dreadful really not only were the two families pretty much destroyed but their were repercussions for everyone in the prosecution and defense as wellConclusion a stupid crime by inept criminals that is every bit as depressing as most but which has left me wondering about what punishment fits the crime I feel in my gut that there has to be some punishment otherwise they'd have gone on killing anyone who got in their way ever but that's not very likely I'm unsettled by the whole thingLibrary copy Difficult read I felt that I was back doing case study work for the MS in Psychology for Counseling or at least deep in clinical related eval testing And I also came on this book Kindlecompletely cold turkey Never realizing at all that the author I have read repeatedly Anne Perry had this kind of thing in her past This book is deep and very dark I would not recommend it to many who read for pleasure It was not entertaining And it went beyond that to becoming a depressant with some visceral loathing in keen display to me It includes the highly sourced and annotated record of a case of matricide in New Zealand's Christchurch during the 1950's The entire first half is the day to day week to week month to month stories of each girl who together committed this violent murder from their births to the point when they were just under 16 both of them And of their families and especially their 4 parents' detailed histories Down to dates and letters and legal papers in great minutiae There was sickness involved in both cases Lungtb for Julie and leg infection that was life threatening for Pauline Different social classes but tons of instability and movement in location too and for Julie especiallyThese girls developed a connection that included their own language invention just for themand numerous fantasy worlds of role play So that they renamed themselves repeatedly So often you needed to read and reread to know who HIM is or Deborah or Gina or Yvonne They formed what is called in some past used jargon a folie a deux The second half includes the trial and all involved in it the aftermath for all primary associated people And especially highlights long sections of psychiatric evaluation testimony Sometimes conflicting but including 4 doctors and a plethora of other witnesses and authorities in the girls' lives Paranoiac exaltation between two fused personalities growing each others' mania Knowing nothing of the aftermath I was shocked Really SHOCKED to discover the length of the prison sentences that they served And also that the Maori explanation upon the tabu forces that the girls had empowered and fulfilled were included too This author was diligent in covering ALL the bases possible for explanations He accomplished a nearly impossible task in just the definitive nature of his prose for this work let alone the research sourcingTo get the gist of this history in this simplistic review it is difficult to use the language needed to do so It is not PC and allowed any to evaluate as was used during the trial for instance But this is not a tale of homosexual behavior or relationship as so depicted in the various trailers Nor possibly in the movie made in 1994 which I had no idea existed before seeing the download of this book and have not seen yet Nor is the 170 I rating applicable to some of the assumptions made from that testing as it was assumed during that trial's era Ironically looking back to just about 2 years ago I read one of the Pitt series by Anne Perry and remember vividly stopping and rereading a part over and over again It encompassed the married couple detectives interviewing a pair of street women prostitutes in the story How those two prostitutes were drawn and described and how Thomas understood their explanation about how a violent death was right and needed It was not in those simple words But it was really really off to me in emotion and in cognition And I had no idea at the time why Now I do This was fascinating and compelling I was surprised at first that there had never been a full length book devoted to the Parker Hulme case apart from Parker Hulme A Lesbian View and then I realised that if there was one I would already have it Peter Graham has done a wonderful job of examining this case from many perspectives and of examining all the different treatments of the story from newspaper coverage of the day up to 'Heavenly Creatures' One of the things I most appreciated was Graham's investigation of the families of both girls and the circumstances of their childhoods and in particular his attempt to give a rounded picture of Honorah RieperParker who was the victim in this murder and yet tends to be incomplete I don't believe I've ever seen a photograph of her and she's always eclipsed by the glamorous and salacious details of the Hulme family Most commentaries on the case talk about Christchurch in the 1950s but few go further back to look at the circumstances of their parents' lives One of the things that struck me most is that neither girl appears to have received any proper therapy or treatment while in prison which of course wouldn't be the case today Stories about their lives while incarcerated are scarce and it would be interesting to know how they reacted to being separated particularly since the idea of separation was one of the main motives for murderOf course one of the most titillating aspects of this case is that Juliet Hulme transformed herself into Anne Perry the writer and gained fame and fortune in the way she seems to have dreamed about early on The author clearly dislikes HulmePerry and it's difficult not to share his distaste especially given her recent attempts to minimise her own part in the murder Fame doesn't appear to have brought her happiness though I doubt this murder could happen in uite the same way today although of course children do still murder their parents and vice versa Perhaps in a less inhibited world with outlets for imagination the girls would have been less dependent on each other and their energies could have been dissipated differently It's interesting to note that both women have turned to religion and become very devout in their later lives Perhaps they both needed something to devote themselves to and in 1950s Christchurch all they could find was one anotherAltogether a great read True crime writing is always best when it includes context and Peter Graham does a great job of it here On June 22 1954 in the depth of a southern winter teenage friends Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker went for a walk in a park with Pauline's mother Half an hour later the girls returned alone Honorah Parker lay in a sea of blood on a lonely track She had been savagely murdered In this mesmerizing book lawyer and true crime writer Peter Graham tells the whole story for the first time giving a brilliant account of the crime and ensuing trial dramatic revelations about the fate of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker after their release from prison and their strange lives today and a penetrating insight into the crime using modern psychology I had such high hopes for this book but sadly it’s kind of a mess I have reuired reading to do I moved this ahead of that and well it was a mistake I’m wondering has anyone that I know seen the movie Heavenly Creatures I’ve asked my co workers my husband my doctor a not too hip table of people at the bar gotten a resounding No from everyone I’ve seen it possibly thirty eight times I’ve seen it enough times that as I read this I heard each diary entry uoted in Melanie Lynskey’s voice “We have now learned the peace of the thing called Bliss the joy of the thing called Sin” I’ve got a hankering to see it again right now Unfortunately if you have seen the movie this book probably won’t do a whole lot for you Graham spends time running down Hilda Hulme’s ancestors how prosecutor Alan Brown was a big drunk than he does adding new information about the lives of Juliet Pauline Beyond learning that Anne Perry is a bit of a weirdo Hilary Nathan doesn’t want anyone bothering her these days surprise there’s not a lot here Go to the library put the movie on hold instead You can have the copy I just checked out when I’m done with it The brutal murder in 1954 of Honorah Parker by two teenage girls one of whom was her daughter shocked the world Although the story has been immortalized in Peter Jackson's film Heavenly Creatures there are few books on the subject In this volume Peter Graham covers the girls early years the obsessive relationship that grew from their meeting at CGHS and the events leading up to the murder their trial and incarceration It is a fascinating and sad case I hadn't realised how Juliet's childhood and lack of maternal bonding might have affected her mental health or to uite what extent the girls delusions had reached prior to committing the murder At times it is almost hard to imagine how removed from the real world both girls must have been a chapter on modern psychology helps to shed some light on the uestion that haunts the book but whyGraham does a good job pulling together research and recreating 1950s Christchurch My only gripe with the book is a bias towards the Hulme family Whilst I can understand that the historical record such as it is will have information relating to the wealthier influential Hulme family the type of family to have their photograph in the paper for instanceit did seem to me that the ReiperParker family was sidelined a little There is not a single photograph of Honorah Parker and yes perhaps there simply wasnt any and while the epilogue summarises the fates of the lawyers involved and both Mrs and Dr Hulme the same cannot be said of Pauline's father or sisters Likewise in real life Juliet now known as Anne Perry is a successful author of murder mystery crime novels the book features a lovely publicity shot In contrast Hillary Nathan formally Pauline Parker lives a solitary uiet life and the only photo is a fuzzy half obscured headshot In a way the book's continual focus on Juliet Hulme the bizarre behaviours of her family and the success of Anne Perry is a fitting echo of the lives of the girls beautiful Juliet with all the grand ideas always in the limelight and Pauline in the shadowsA fascinating read Written by a New Zealand lawyer who was a child at the time of the most famous murder trial in New Zealand’s history this is a thorough examination of the case from all perspectives The premeditated murder of a woman by her 16 year old daughter and the daughter’s 15 year old friend is shocking to learn about To be able to analyze a murder many decades after it occurred makes for a very interesting history of how the lives of the families involved were affected Several historical fiction books have been written and a famous movie titled Heavenly Creatures staring Kate Winslet produced by Prince Edward of England brought the court case to the attention of people around the globe If you enjoy reading about court cases you will find this book worth the time

  • Paperback
  • 341 pages
  • So Brilliantly Clever Parker Hulme and the Murder that Shocked the World
  • Peter Graham
  • English
  • 07 July 2015

About the Author: Peter Graham

Peter Graham born 1947 in New Zealand Librarian’s note There is than one author in the Goodreads database with this namePeter Graham is a retired barrister who has worked in Hong Kong for over thirty years Peter Graham now lives in New Zealand and is a true crime writer