1. Her first book wasn’t published until she was 41.
Perry began writing when she was in her twenties; however, her first book wasn’t picked up for publication until many years later. During the time in between, she held various jobs in clerical work, retail, and fashion, and was also a flight attendant and a limo dispatcher for some time. Despite all these jobs, she knew writing was what she wanted to pursue. She has now published over 100 books, including 3 published as recently as this past year. Her fifth Daniel Pitt book is scheduled to be released sometime in 2022.
2. She won an Edgar Award for her short story “Heroes.”
Perry’s story “Heroes” first appeared in the 1999 anthology Murder and Obsession and won the Edgar Award for Best Short Story in 2001. The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly called the Edgars, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. Named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe, a pioneer in the genre, the awards honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theater published or produced in the previous year.
3. She had no formal schooling past the age of 13.
Perry was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of 6. She was so severely ill that she missed three years of schooling. Luckily, her mother taught her to read and write, so she was able to catch back up when she returned to school at age 10. However, at 13 she fell seriously ill again and left school permanently.
4. She’s lived in at least five different countries.
Perry was born in London, England in 1938. Her family moved around frequently in her younger years, and sent her to the Bahamas to live with a foster family in hopes that the warmer weather would be better for her illness. As a teen, she moved back with her family to a small island off the coast of New Zealand. In her 20s, Perry returned to England for a while, but eventually made her way to the United States for five years. She once again returned to England when her stepfather became seriously ill. She currently lives in Scotland.
5. Her real name is Juliet Hulme.
Perry changed her name after serving five years in prison for murder. At 15 years old she met Pauline Parker. The girls initially bonded over the debilitating illnesses they both had as children, but their relationship quickly became obsessive. When Perry’s family decided to send her to South Africa, the girls could not stand the thought of being separated. Perry’s parents offered to pay for Pauline to come along, but Pauline’s parents refused, thinking it would be best to separate the friends for a while. The girls decided that the only thing keeping them apart was Pauline’s mom Honorah. They believed the only way to stay together was to kill her. Pauline and Juliet planned an outing with Honorah under the guise of a goodbye for Juliet, who would be leaving soon for South Africa. The three of them went on a walk down a wooded path in Victoria Park when the girls bludgeoned Honorah to death with a brick. They were quickly caught, and were both sentenced to five years in separate prisons. The two have not spoken since.