On a sunny afternoon in late June, Cambridge professor Joseph Reavley is summoned from a student cricket match to learn that his parents have died in an automobile crash. Joseph's brother, Matthew, an officer in the Intelligence Service, reveals that their father had been en route to London to turn over to him a mysterious secret document—allegedly with the power to disgrace England forever and destroy the civilized world. A paper so damning that Joseph and Matthew dared mention it only to their restless sister. Now it has vanished.What has happened to this explosive document, if indeed it ever existed? How had it fallen into the hands of their father, a quiet countryman? Not even Matthew, with his Intelligence connections, can answer these questions. And Joseph is soon burdened with a second tragedy: the shocking murder of his most gifted student, handsome Sebastian Allard, loved and admired by everyone. Or so it appeared.Meanwhile, England's seamless peace is cracking—as the distance between the murder of an Austrian archduke by a Serbian anarchist and the death of a brilliant university student by a bullet to the head becomes shorter with each day.
Sometimes the personal story of a particular author seems almost as intriguing as the books they write. Such is the life of British author Anne Perry (aka Juliet Marion Hulme). As a child Hulme was very ill with tuberculosis and ended up being fostered out by a family in the Caribbean. She did get better, and the family moved to a private island in New Zealand, where she describes her life as a Swiss family Robinson type existence. She became ill again and during her bouts of illness through her teen years, she missed most of her childhood education. However, her mother had prepared her by teaching her how to read and write by the time she was four. Her heart always seemed to be in writing.
At the age of 15, Juliet and her best friend plotted and killed her friend's mother. The three went for a walk in the park and Hulme dropped a stone, causing the mother to bend over to pick it up, and her friend hit her own mother on the head with a half brick. They had planned on the strike killing her, but they had to strike her 20 times before she was dead. The girls were put on trial and each served five years in prison. It is said that they never saw each other again after being released. For many years, nobody connected author Anne Perry as the teen murderer, Juliet Hulme. In 1994, the film Heavenly Creatures, portrayed Hulme and her friend Pauline Parker with characters being played by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey respectively.
Perry's genre of writing covers Victorian Era Detective fiction for the most part. Her novels have been centered around two main characters, Thomas Pitt and William Monk. She has published 47 novels and several collections of stories.
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