Anne Perry, the Inspiration for Kate Winslet’s Teen Murderer in ‘Heavenly Creatures,’ Dies at 84

The prolific crime novelist’s dark past was portrayed in the 1994 Peter Jackson film

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Anne Perry During a Random House -Penguin Speakers Bureau discussion circa 2012. (YouTube)

Anne Perry, the prolific crime novelist, died at a Los Angeles hospital on Monday, her literary agent Meg Davis confirmed to the New York Times. Perry was 84.

Perry, who was born as Juliet Marion Hulme, served five years in prison after being convicted of murdering her best friend Pauline Parker’s mother Honorah Rieper alongside Parker when they were just teenagers in 1954. Perry was just 15 years old and Parker was 16 at the time.

In 1994, Perry’s past came to light when director Peter Jackson based his film “Heavenly Creatures” on Perry’s story. Perry was played by Kate Winslet, who was making her onscreen acting debut in the film. Melanie Lynskey starred as Parker. “Heavenly Creatures” would end up being nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

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Kate Winslet, left, and Melanie Lynskey in “Heavenly Creatures.” (Miramax)

Perry’s first novel “The Cater Street Hangman,” was published in 1979. The crime novel is the first in a series which centers on the Victorian husband-and-wife team of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. Perry would write about 30 more books in the series which ended with 2016’s “Murder on the Serpentine.”

In 2017, Perry started a second series “21 Days” centered on the Pitt’s son, Daniel.

According to Perry’s website, her books have gone on to sell more than 26 million books worldwide. In 1998, Perry was selected by The Times of London as one of its 100 Masters of Crime of the past century, alongside authors Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Arthur Conan Doyle.

In addition to “Heavenly Creatures,” there’s a 2009 German documentary about Perry titled “Interiors” and a bestselling 2012 biography, “The Search for Anne Perry,” by Joanne Drayton.

Perry is survived by her brother, Jonathan Hulme.