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View Full Version : Would you read books by an author who murdered someone?



wsmoak
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:11 PM
This just happened. I discovered a couple of new series, historical fiction mystery stuff. I've read one or two books in each series, liked them, and went looking for the rest.

Searching for the author's name turned up the fact that as a teenager, she and a friend planned and executed the murder of the friend's mother. The mother was divorcing and the girls did not want to be separated, which would have happened had she left and taken the friend. So they killed her.

The girls spent five or so years in jail and were released. The author changed her name.

Some of the books are murder mysteries. I'm now seriously weirded out by the fact that when she writes about a murder, she actually has first hand experience!

I'm curious. Would you continue reading the books, or cross her off your list?

Would it make a difference if you took them out of the library (so she wouldn't profit any further) vs. buying them?

lilitiger2
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:16 PM
Nope. That would do it for me.

Windsor1
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:25 PM
I MIGHT continue reading the books if there were a way to do so without her profiting from it, but absolutely would not buy the books or otherwise enrich her financially. It occurs to me that even libraries have to buy their books, right, and if this author's books appear to be in demand, the library might buy more of them.

Might be a different story if the author were writing romances or sci-fi, but by writing murder mysteries it's as though she's profiting from or romanticizing her own heinous crime. There are plenty of other great books out there to read.

inne
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:33 PM
Are you talking about Anne Perry?

I would still read books by someone who did this. I still read Norman Mailer, who stabbed his wife and was generally just a terrible person, and Louis Althusser, who strangled his wife. If the work is good I do not care.

Pookah
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:35 PM
That is so WEIRD!! I really have no idea what I would do. But as I mostly read murder mysteries, would you mind sharing who the author is? May be that I need to make a decision :-)

Fred
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:38 PM
I read all the Anne Perry books, and really enjoyed them. Then found out that she and her friend had murdered the friend's mother.

Her books do not concentrate on the murders themselves, or any gruesome details, but rather the solving of the crimes and the personalities of the detectives themselves.
I think they are really good books, interesting, well written, historically and socially accurate...

There was also a movie made about the case, I can't remember the name of it though.

inne
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:39 PM
Heavenly Creatures! It's a good movie.

Fred
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:42 PM
^^ thanks inne!

wsmoak
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:46 PM
I read all the Anne Perry books, and really enjoyed them. Then found out that she and her friend had murdered the friend's mother.

Her books do not concentrate on the murders themselves, or any gruesome details, but rather the solving of the crimes and the personalities of the detectives themselves.
I think they are really good books, interesting, well written, historically and socially accurate...

There was also a movie made about the case, I can't remember the name of it though.

The movie is "Heavenly Creatures". (Yes, the author is Anne Perry.)

The book I was (am) reading when I discovered this fact actually *does* have a gruesome murder complete with details. A Sunless Sea.

I agree they're interesting and well written, but... it's just weird. I don't go researching the lives of all the authors I read, this just popped up while I was looking for more books and I've been pondering whether I will read the rest of the books. Ethics aside, for now I think it's too distracting.

lilitiger2
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:17 AM
i agree wsmoak - it's one thing if someone killed someone in self defense, in purely by crazy accident, but to plan and execute someone? Totally antisocial, and then to profit? Not a chance I would support that.

Chall
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:27 AM
I have read maybe two of her books. No, if I'd known I wouldn't have read it. I don't like to hear murders speak on those forensic shows and I don't watch the all-hitler-all-the-time history channels. I just think my energy can be focused on more positive things. I once caught a wonderful documentary on Pope John Paul and his friendship with Gorbachov (sp). That was an uplifting hour. The smile on Gorbachov's face just lit up the room and it showed.

DancingArabian
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:29 AM
I would absolutely not buy the books new. If the series was truly awesome, I would go to the used bookstore and buy them secondhand.

ynl063w
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:30 AM
i agree wsmoak - it's one thing if someone killed someone in self defense, in purely by crazy accident, but to plan and execute someone? Totally antisocial, and then to profit? Not a chance I would support that.

I did a quick Google search - the author is not making a profit on the murder that she committed when she was 15 (she's 74 now). She's been a productive, law-abiding citizen of society since she finished serving the time to which she was sentenced for the crime she committed.

The mentality that people who break the law don't have a right to live in society by society's rules and earn an honest living after they've served the sentence that was handed to them by the justice system is mind-boggling to me. Would it have been more acceptable if she had been executed at the age of 15?

mswillie
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:42 AM
This just happened. I discovered a couple of new series, historical fiction mystery stuff. I've read one or two books in each series, liked them, and went looking for the rest.

Searching for the author's name turned up the fact that as a teenager, she and a friend planned and executed the murder of the friend's mother. The mother was divorcing and the girls did not want to be separated, which would have happened had she left and taken the friend. So they killed her.

The girls spent five or so years in jail and were released. The author changed her name.

Some of the books are murder mysteries. I'm now seriously weirded out by the fact that when she writes about a murder, she actually has first hand experience!

I'm curious. Would you continue reading the books, or cross her off your list?

Would it make a difference if you took them out of the library (so she wouldn't profit any further) vs. buying them?

I wouldn't read them. Not because I'd care about her profiting but just because it would freak me out. I can understand killing someone in the heat of the moment, or as revenge, or even killing a spouse. I can't however, even begin to understand what these two girls did. Personally I think they should still be in jail.

Gestalt
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:43 AM
I wouldn't read the books on principle alone. There is something missing in the soul of a human that kills another for personal gain. No amount of jail time can right that wrong. Jmo

PetraRiedel
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:45 AM
Ugh. No, I would not buy/read her books. Also did a quick search on Anne Perry. She and her friend were only fifteen when they planned the murder of the friend's mother. They killed her by hitting her over the head with a brick. Figured it would take one strike to kill her. It took twenty.
Boggles the mind how two teenage girls could be so cruel.
Even if they planned the murder, managed to hit her once and then recoiled in horror of what they had done - called for help - that would be sort of forgivable.
But bashing the woman's head with a brick 20 times - that's sick.

Dreamwalker
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:55 AM
I did a quick Google search - the author is not making a profit on the murder that she committed when she was 15 (she's 74 now). She's been a productive, law-abiding citizen of society since she finished serving the time to which she was sentenced for the crime she committed.

The mentality that people who break the law don't have a right to live in society by society's rules and earn an honest living after they've served the sentence that was handed to them by the justice system is mind-boggling to me. Would it have been more acceptable if she had been executed at the age of 15?

Part of the sentence included her being deported from NZ and never having contact with the other girl as long as she lived. Last time I looked, she was still not having any contact with the other girl despite intense media pressure after the movie release.
It appears she took the terms of her sentence seriously and became a good citizen, one of the reasons, incidentally, that we imprison people: to give them the chance to reform.

I've read some her books and I didn't find them glorifying murder but instead focusing on applying the law impartially.

That seems like a good result of an ugly situation to me.

ynl063w
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:14 AM
Of course it's mind-boggling and sick. They BRUTALLY MURDERED someone. My point is that they were sentenced by the justice system, served their time, and were released back to society at large to go live their lives as (hopefully) law-abiding citizens. And apparently, the author in question has done so. In spades.

So, do we, as all other members of society, continue to shun people for the rest of their lives after they have served their time, and make it as difficult as possible for them to fit in as law-abiding citizens, or do we respect our justice system and allow these people the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and integrate back into society with the rest of us?

Simkie
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:22 AM
I'd have no problems buying the books.

She did something incredibly harmful and incredibly stupid as a teenager. She served her time and, by all accounts, has been a productive member of society for nearly SIXTY years since then.

lilitiger2
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:30 AM
I have spent a great part of my professional life working with offenders in one capacity or another. There are many many ways that people, teens, in this case, can make mistakes, very commonly involving misappraisal of risk. And yes, I am a very big fan of atonement and restoritive justice. But planning and executing someone -hitting them 20 times with a brick - is not a mistake or a miscalculation. That takes a particular personality type that involves complete disregard for the welfare of others.It is not responsive to "reform" although certainly there are people with these traits that are not necessariy in prison, are law abiding and so forth. But they still hold at their core, that same disregard. I guess I have seen so freaking much of that, over the years, that I would have absolutely no interest in supporting it in any way or optimism that such people would make any sincere change. Too many other authors to support.

alternate_universe
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:37 AM
There's a children's author who's name suddenly evades me who was convicted of smuggling cocaine as a young adult... like briging shipments of the stuff into the U.S. from Central/South America. I find the whole thing kind of funny. His books are excellent.

ynl063w
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:50 AM
That takes a particular personality type that involves complete disregard for the welfare of others.It is not responsive to "reform" although certainly there are people with these traits that are not necessariy in prison, are law abiding and so forth. But they still hold at their core, that same disregard.

Apparently the author in question has been responsive enough to "reform" (not sure why you put that in quotes but whatever) that she has been able to integrate herself back into society after serving her time and has remained a law-abiding citizen for 59 years, so I would say that she does not in fact hold a lasting disregard for the welfare of others (or at least not in a way that breaks the law, which makes her since her release from prison pretty much just like those of us who haven't ever murdered anyone).

I'm genuinely curious - what do you think should be the punishment for someone like the author in question?

ynl063w
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:17 AM
"reform"because people have all sorts of expectations about the potential for real change. And with this personality that really does not happen. For those who plan and execute someone, frankly forfitting the right to BE in society,living the good life, is not really inappropriate. Our system is not set up for that, but we are not talking about a "mistake" or "accident" or mental health issue or something. And five years is a little light.

And to be very clear, someone who has executed someone else in NO WAY is "just like those of us who have not murdered anyone", where they are in an institution or not.

I have no idea what you are trying to say with that first paragraph, so I can't respond to any of it.

And you did not read my post in the way that I wrote it, because I did not say that the author was just like those of us who have not murdered anyone. I wrote that she has apparently lived her life since her release from prison in a way that resembles that of those of us who have not murdered anyone (in other words, she has not murdered anyone since she was released from prison 59 years ago).

Dreamwalker
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:35 AM
Just to be clear we are not talking about 'our' justice system we are talking about New Zealand's justice system sixty years ago. Sixty years ago is like another world to most of us.
And, to be pedantic, there were many, many discussions about the possibility of mental illness prior to the murder being committed. Although, many of them centered on the suspicion that the girls were lesbians which at that time WAS considered a mental illness. Five years is a very light sentence but they were juveniles. Unlike other justice systems, this wasn't sealed unavailable information. Which is why we know about it now!
They weren't given five years as a punishment btw it was Judge's discretion, so they could have stayed there plenty for years. For what it's worth it appears the Judge got it right. They haven't reoffended, they still keep to the terms of their release conditions and have been in gainful employment. They can't undo what they did, so what more do you want? Please don't say the Death Penalty... NZ has only given the Death Penalty to one woman, and that was in 1895, it was very, very unlikely to have been used in this instance.

Anne Perry's first job was as an air hostess. I have more reservations about that, because of her mental instability, than her employment as an author.

ynl063w
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:42 AM
Just to be clear we are not talking about 'our' justice system we are talking about New Zealand's justice system sixty years ago. Sixty years ago is like another world to most of us.
And, to be pedantic, there were many, many discussions about the possibility of mental illness prior to the murder being committed. Although, many of them centered on the suspicion that the girls were lesbians which at that time WAS considered a mental illness. Five years is a very light sentence but they were juveniles. Unlike other justice systems, this wasn't sealed unavailable information. Which is why we know about it now!
They weren't given five years as a punishment btw it was Judge's discretion, so they could have stayed there plenty for years. For what it's worth it appears the Judge got it right. They haven't reoffended, they still keep to the terms of their release conditions and have been in gainful employment. They can't undo what they did, so what more do you want? Please don't say the Death Penalty... NZ has only given the Death Penalty to one woman, and that was in 1895, it was very, very unlikely to have been used in this instance.

Anne Perry's first job was as an air hostess. I have more reservations about that, because of her mental instability, than her employment as an author.

I was using the term "our" with regards to the justice system in a global sense, as it really doesn't matter for my argument where in the world this happened.

Please elaborate on the mental instability - I didn't read anything indicating this but as I said I didn't dig very deep at all.

Gestalt
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:15 AM
Just because she hasn't murdered again (maybe she has!) doesn't mean that if the conditions were right that she wouldn't. Creatures such as herself and the other girl are like space aliens, people with hearts and a conscious don't kill for gain or profit.

Too many excellent authors abound for me to waste my time on a murderer.

ynl063w
Mar. 30, 2013, 04:09 AM
Just because she hasn't murdered again (maybe she has!) doesn't mean that if the conditions were right that she wouldn't. Creatures such as herself and the other girl are like space aliens, people with hearts and a conscious don't kill for gain or profit.

Too many excellent authors abound for me to waste my time on a murderer.

The same could be said about anyone at any time (if the conditions were right). So according to your thoughts, we are all teetering on the edge of becoming murderers?

Let's just execute us all (space aliens that we are), since each one of us is one condition away from becoming a murderer.

cloudyandcallie
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:03 AM
I'd only read more if I were still in the business of prosecuting criminals. I always wanted to know what is in the mind of a murderer. And why most of them have no remorse. But I wonder why the author was not sued to prevent her from profiting from the killing?

You never know who might be sitting next to you. In Atlanta, a woman worked with a social services group, and came to some meetings that some of us attended. The newspaper later outted her as a woman who had killed her boyfriend's wife with a hatchet. A Texas jury had acquitted her of murder. She changed her name and moved to Atlanta. The cheating husband must have decided he might be next for the hatchet, so he left her after she murdered his wife.

altjaeger
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:53 AM
I'd never heard of Anne Perry, so went off to Wikipedia and found this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker-Hulme_murder_case

ynl063w
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:50 AM
But I wonder why the author was not sued to prevent her from profiting from the killing?

Again, she is NOT making a profit from the murder. She has not written about the murder, she has not done the morning show circuit talking about the murder, and she has not sold her story to the National Enquirer. She is earning a living as a writer.

Mickey the Marcher
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:12 AM
Lot of clueless people posting on this thread.
Cliff notes version....
In 1954 (that's almost 60 years ago), in a far off country called New Zealand, Juliet Hume (who now uses the nom de plum "Anne Perry), along with her best friend, murdered her best friend's murder.
The were both convicted as minors and spent 5 years in prison.
Upon release, Perry lived in the UK, and the US.
In the 80's, when she was in her 40's, she became a published author, and has gone on to be a fairly succesfull author.
Her books do not deal with the murder she committed as a 15 year old.
In fact almost nobody knew she was the kid that committed that crime all those years ago until about six months after the movie Heavenly Creatures came out and somehow it surfaced. So she can hardly be accused of "cashing in" on her notoriety.

She f$%ked up as 15yo. Spent time in jail. In the intervening 55 years she has been on her best behaviour. What more do you want you, you pound-of-fleshers?

lilitiger2
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:16 AM
The same could be said about anyone at any time .

Actually, no. It is NOT the case that any of us are capable of planning and executing a murder. Actually only a very small population of people can and will do that (accidents/heat of passion/mental health, etc are a different story). That is what makes this different than "stupid teenager decisions". Some people are responsive to various rehabilitative programs but not this population. And to be free and enjoying life after doing that, while others who have NEVER and likely will never do anything remotely like that are languishing in our prison system, is...well...amazing. I don't what justice system was involved and obviously lesbianism is completely irrelevant

The original question was would I read/buy the books by someone who had planned and carried out a brutal murder and the answer is definitely not.

Mickey the Marcher
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:31 AM
Well that is one way to put it. Generally, f'ing up is like - stealing, dropping out of school, getting a DUI, getting into bar fights, getting caught with your neighbor's girfriend or things of that ilk - but again, planning organizing and then actually killing someone is quite another thing, not usually in the category of "hey, I'm over it now so it's all good!"

What do you want? What would make you happy? You want her dead? You want her still rotting in jail as a 75 year old, 60 years after the fact? What do you want?

SillyHorse
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:36 AM
What do you want? What would make you happy? You want her dead? You want her still rotting in jail as a 75 year old, 60 years after the fact? What do you want?Yes, please let us know what you find so appalling about a person who committed a terrible crime as a teenager 60 years ago, served the sentence handed her by the justice system in her country, has abided by the terms of her release, and is now earning an honest living.

SaturdayNightLive
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:44 AM
What do you want? What would make you happy? You want her dead? You want her still rotting in jail as a 75 year old, 60 years after the fact? What do you want?

I don't know - she took a life. Why should she get to go on to have a happy one?

Life in prison, or death. You take a life, you give up yours, one way or another.

Murder isn't a childish indiscretion that should be forgiven.

DieBlaueReiterin
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:48 AM
through that wiki site, i found a link to this case

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/photogallery/teen-girls-serving-life.html

a girl who killed her pimp at age 16 (after he'd raped her and pimped her out for 3 years) was sentenced to life imprison. both her sentence and the sentence in the OP seem like complete miscarriages of justice! should have been reversed, IMO.

grayarabpony
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:56 AM
In a way she's been living in a fantasy world still and writing about it. Thankfully no one has interfered with her fantasy world in such a way that she felt the need to bash their head with a brick 20 times. Probably she's just calculating enough not to do something like that again.

But clearly there is something very wrong with someone who would do that in the first place. If you blame it on someone being 15 years old then YOU are clueless.

She only served 5 years. She got off very easy. I don't know anything about NZ law but in this country an underage offender can be sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

Being identified as a murderer will have to be punishment enough now.

lilitiger2
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:13 AM
Murder isn't a childish indiscretion.

This. Prison has several purposes and one (but hardly the only) is to remind people that there truly are things you can do that indicate you don't get to be part of the herd, even if you promise you'll never ever do it again. Not all deaths/killings are the same. This particular one was not "youthful indiscretion".

NOT related to this case, but on the topic of redemption, I have been very interested in the hospice program run by Angola prison, a place with a truly wretched history. Somehow it seems to have managed to provide some of its inmates (of course a good number of them likely should not have been there inthe first place) with a real shot at atonement, as they get to provide care for their dying colleagues. Never been there, but if that's true, I like the concept.

Lady Eboshi
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:27 AM
We read books all the TIME by people who have killed as soldiers in war--"American Sniper" and "Matterhorn" come immediately to mind. No problem!

Murder, along with everything from prostitution to questionable parenting, is a valid part of the overall palette of human experience; since we are constantly "entertained" by murder in every other medium, how would reading such a book be essentially different than watching a movie about Jack the Ripper?

Whether or not the miscreant should profit by relating his adventures, is, of course, a different ethical question.

JanM
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:28 AM
I don't read her books. It wasn't just the murder of an innocent woman, but the quote in the article I read about it, something like "It seems as if it all happened to someone else"--that was attributed to Anne Perry or whatever name she goes by in real life. I found that heartless, and cruel, because it did happen to someone else, and that person is dead. I usually don't read British mysteries, but I definitely won't make an exception in her case either. As a consumer I don't have to buy items from people that I find objectionable for a reason, and I don't. There are certain food providers I don't deal with because of their publicly held views, or where the profits go, so I prefer to give my money to companies and providers that I don't feel hypocritical dealing with.

lilitiger2
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:36 AM
We read books all the TIME by people who have killed as soldiers in war--"American Sniper" and "Matterhorn" come immediately to mind. No problem!

Murder, along with everything from prostitution to questionable parenting, is a valid part of the overall palette of human experience; since we are constantly "entertained" by murder in every other medium, how would reading such a book be essentially different than watching a movie about Jack the Ripper?

Whether or not the miscreant should profit by relating his adventures, is, of course, a different ethical question.

and again, killing in combat, part of law enforcement, accident, dispute, and so forth are at all the same thing. Not even close.

Belle Beach
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:02 PM
No, I have not read her books since I learned that.

And she only disclosed this fact when media was going to press with it years ago.

Anyone that could do this at 15? Is no different now. Situation just hasn't arisen again where she would do it.

SillyHorse
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:40 PM
Anyone that could do this at 15? Is no different now. Situation just hasn't arisen again where she would do it.What are your credentials that you feel qualified to make that (uneducated and silly)statement? Do you know for a fact that the situation "just hasn't" arisen again?

lilitiger2
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:14 PM
I am very qualified to make assessments. You are mixing a number of factors tho, BB.

One is risk assessment. We take into account a number of factors that elevate risk of reoffense, and then look at any potential factors that would moderate these risks. We don't have to know exactly what will occur, but look at variables that do appear to increase risk, and thos that are known to mitigage it.

The other is appropriate diagnostic assessment. This is a subset of a subset (ie people who have caused the death of others, a small group, and then a subset of that group, those who have premeditated that death). Distinguishing and diagnosising is really important (and very much related to risk assessment). But typically with these folks (and of course, having never met/see this person it very well may not apply at all) , you find a prominent lack of regard for the welfare of others, little empathy,minimization of responsibility, shallow emotions and so on. That is NOT the case for everyone involved in a death,particuarly those that are accidental, combat related and so on.

Risk of recidivism is not the only factor, as noted, that underscores what kind of response society will determine appropriate. Sometimes, society just wants to signal that some behaviors are not okay, if you want to keep playing with others.

I am actually not at all a lock 'em all up kind of girl, I do not believe in warehousing and I believe very much in atonement. I am not a DP fan.

But still, not interested in reading novels by this person.

JBD
Mar. 31, 2013, 01:04 AM
I'd only read more if I were still in the business of prosecuting criminals. I always wanted to know what is in the mind of a murderer. And why most of them have no remorse. But I wonder why the author was not sued to prevent her from profiting from the killing?

You never know who might be sitting next to you. In Atlanta, a woman worked with a social services group, and came to some meetings that some of us attended. The newspaper later outted her as a woman who had killed her boyfriend's wife with a hatchet. A Texas jury had acquitted her of murder. She changed her name and moved to Atlanta. The cheating husband must have decided he might be next for the hatchet, so he left her after she murdered his wife.
Are you talking about Candy Montgomery? One of my friends was hired for the murdered woman's teaching job. How she was acquitted is a mystery.

Griffyn
Mar. 31, 2013, 01:47 AM
Id be more inclined to read the books than let my kids have riding lessons from someone who plotted to kill their mother. (per wiki the other girl is a riding instructor)

vacation1
Mar. 31, 2013, 01:49 AM
I've read Anne Perry's books, and enjoyed some. I've also found her background disgusting, and was morally torn about reading the books. I've never read Norman Mailer's work and never intend to, because I find his background even more disturbing. If you commit a certain level of crime - rape, murder, torture - it is legitimate for individuals to take a personal or societal toll which is separate from the legal sentence. OJ Simpson is probably the best famous example - he may have been acquitted of butchering his ex-wife and a waiter, but he's been poison in the wider world ever since. Legally speaking, it's utterly unfair because he went through the process and was acquitted. But the law is just a reflection; it was created to codify the moral sense of humans living in society. That moral sense still applies, with or without the agreement of law. Which is why Michael Vick will never live down his crimes. You break the covenant, you don't just risk your life or your freedom, you risk being cast out of the tribe. We all pay for our actions. Most of the time, our payment is higher and far less deserved than in the case of a murderer who did her time. Idiot teenager sleeps with boyfriend, gets AIDS. Idiot teenager runs a red light, kills three people. They're all left with those results. Why insist the slate be artificially cleaned for the most serious transgressors?

wendy
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:58 AM
well, if you look at the crime she committed, it's a very childish one- the motive wasn't to get money or anything like that, it was to prevent her best friend from moving away. Very teenager-like to overreact to something like that. An adult with fully formed frontal lobes wouldn't react that way. The "elaborate plot" to kill the mother was also very childish and poorly thought out- no alibis, no effort to hide the body, nothing.
It was an act of an impulsive teenager, not a cold-blooded killer.

grayarabpony
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:05 AM
Gah. A 15-year-old isn't a 5-year-old. The MURDER was premeditated.

I really wish you would quit pretend-reading scientific articles and then posting on the internet about it.

lilitiger2
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:30 AM
Sigh. premeditation is not always EFFECTIVE but it shows that this was not a tragic end to a heat of moment fight, or a drunken miscalculation. As such, it differs greatly from teens who run red lights (Laura Bush, I think). And yes, adults most certainly commit premeditated crimes, some more sophisticated than others. Society does indeed treat these differently (as they are different). The assumption is that most people do not refrain from killing others only because its illegal, but because we have a moral sense that its not nice to do that. However, there are individuals who do not have the brakes most of us have, and society does have an interest in identifying these folks.

In any case, it is an interesting question. I can, however, assure you grayarabpony that I don't have to "pretent read" any kind of articles, or post them anywhere. At the end of the day, great that this person has not reoffended, but just noting why I am not enthusiastic about reading the novels in question.

Loopy
Mar. 31, 2013, 01:07 PM
No, not if I was aware of it and the books were themed around murder or other crime. I'd feel weird reading that knowing what they had done. Although, I have given this some thought previously, and I am a little freaked anyway by the nasty, twisted stuff some people can come up with in their imaginations :o

So to know that that wasn't necessarily all imagination does make me not want to read that book, and not necessarily (for me) anything to do with whether the author has paid his or her debt to society for their crimes. (Yes, yes, I'm a big wimpy softy about reading gore/true murders/horror, anything like that).

For a while I dated a guy who's father had murdered his mother. Guy was still close to his father and I met him and his new wife a few times but I was never really comfortable being around him.

Pookah
Mar. 31, 2013, 01:13 PM
Interesting discussion, once you get past some of the out there replies. I've never read any of her books, and don't know that I really have a strong opinion one way or the other on reading them.

But I'm uncomfortable with the idea of "boycotting" her books because of a past crime for which she fulfilled her assigned punishment of the justice system that she lived under at the time. It seems to me that in the big picture, this is a contributor to how we end up with career criminals - if after you serve a jail sentence for a crime, no one will associate with or hire you, it's very easy to see your only option as returning to crime as a means to support yourself.

I can certainly understand the feeling that there is no way to sufficiently punish murder, and that there is nothing she can do within her lifetime to "make up for" what she did. But it seems like if you really believe that to be true, we should just opt for automatic capital punishment in murder cases. There is nothing she can do to undo the bad decision that she made as a 15 year old, but I'm not sure I would agree that ruining or ending her life is the correct answer either.

Truly I think this is one of those quandaries with no right or wrong answers.

lilitiger2
Mar. 31, 2013, 03:51 PM
But I'm uncomfortable with the idea of "boycotting" her books because of a past crime for which she fulfilled her assigned punishment of the justice system that she lived under at the time. It seems to me that in the big picture, this is a contributor to how we end up with career criminals - if after you serve a jail sentence for a crime, no one will associate with or hire you, it's very easy to see your only option as returning to crime as a means to support yourself.

.
Yes, which, when people think of this, demonstrates good reasoning ability ("I'd sure like to whack my boss but if I do....well, there'll be years in prison and I'll probably lose my wife and then...who'll hire me?") I had a client who had killed his GF in a drunken fight, and, after a very long stretch in prison was out and thinking of dating again. As he was contemplating the challenge of finding women who would find a guy who killed his previous GF attractive, he said,"This is the kind of thing I should have thought about, if I was doing any thinking!!" :)

There are no easy answers and of course I find it interesting as it is obviously close to home for me! And again, we are talking about a (thankfully) small subset of a small subset - those who have rationally (which is why there are assessments for mental capacity and emotional functioning and so forth) contemplated killing someone and decided to do it. Personality disorder traits are pretty enduring, unfortunately.

as far as what to do about it, also a never ending question. Society does have an interest in segregating those who have demonstrated they have no emotional brakes, even if they are pretty likely to NOT reoffend (the guy who says, "i've always wanted to see what it was like to kill someone and now I have. Im crippled now so I can't reoffend anyway, so, can't we just call it good? I'll be a nice boy/girl, I promise!") Are we okay with that?

and of course, there are always the pervasive criminal justice issues - you are way more likely to end up on death row if you kill white people, sentencing disparities are still glaring - ain't no "and justice for all" at this point!!!!

Bogie
Mar. 31, 2013, 04:17 PM
I have read all her books and enjoyed most of them.

I did not know her history when I read them. I will say that her books are all about justice (both her series use protagonists who are policemen or detectives) so the do not glorify murder.

I guess I prefer to evaluate them as books, rather on the actions of the author. If she had written about the murder she and her friend committed, I would not buy that book. I don't buy any books that are written by criminals trying to profit from their actions.

Obviously, everyone should make their own decision about what authors they want to support based on their own criteria.

grayarabpony
Mar. 31, 2013, 04:20 PM
Sigh. premeditation is not always EFFECTIVE but it shows that this was not a tragic end to a heat of moment fight, or a drunken miscalculation. As such, it differs greatly from teens who run red lights (Laura Bush, I think). And yes, adults most certainly commit premeditated crimes, some more sophisticated than others. Society does indeed treat these differently (as they are different). The assumption is that most people do not refrain from killing others only because its illegal, but because we have a moral sense that its not nice to do that. However, there are individuals who do not have the brakes most of us have, and society does have an interest in identifying these folks.

In any case, it is an interesting question. I can, however, assure you grayarabpony that I don't have to "pretent read" any kind of articles, or post them anywhere. At the end of the day, great that this person has not reoffended, but just noting why I am not enthusiastic about reading the novels in question.

lilitiger I was responding to wendy, not you! lol

JanM
Mar. 31, 2013, 04:40 PM
Cloudy-I read the true crime book about the hatchet murder, and was totally mystified how this woman was found not guilty. However, it sounds as if the husband finally got a clue and left.

lilitiger2
Mar. 31, 2013, 05:19 PM
lilitiger I was responding to wendy, not you! lol

thanks GAP - I wish I COULD "pretend read" a lot of the materials I have to review! :)

Frizzle
Mar. 31, 2013, 06:14 PM
Murder mystery books written by an actual murderer? No. :no: If the person was really and truly horrified by what s/he had done, they would not then base their career on creating multiple "fantasy" murders. I mean, if you were truly ashamed of what you had done, wouldn't you try to distance yourself from all things murder in general? Sick.

And all the people saying it was just a stupid teenage thing--Seriously?!?! Bashing someone's head twenty times with a brick is a stupid teenage thing? No. Shoplifting a $15 item on a dare, drinking too much beer and sleeping with some random person, smoking marijuana--those are stupid teenage things. Murder is not in that category, nor is rape.

LauraKY
Mar. 31, 2013, 06:56 PM
The Apostle Paul was forgiven for murder, was he just to be an exception?


I don't know - she took a life. Why should she get to go on to have a happy one?

Life in prison, or death. You take a life, you give up yours, one way or another.

Murder isn't a childish indiscretion that should be forgiven.

SaturdayNightLive
Mar. 31, 2013, 07:09 PM
The Apostle Paul was forgiven for murder, was he just to be an exception?

I think you have me confused with some sort of Christian... :uhoh:

Mi
Mar. 31, 2013, 07:45 PM
Wow, a little shocked browsing through some of the posts on this thread.

Regardless of whether we like it or not, she was sentenced and she did her time. The judge, who was familiar with the case and her (unlike us, who are reading info of the internet 60 years later, c'mon) thought 5 years was adequate punishment.. we cannot punish people once they have been released into society. Personally, I believe it's our duty as citizens of this country and this world to do our part to reintegrate these people back into society so that they have a real chance at reform. Otherwise, shunned and cast out from their former lives they're more likely to re-offend or go down a bad road. But that's just my belief.

It's easy to get on our high horses and say oh well she was 15, she knew better and she's a heartless murderer and can't be changed. But until you walk a mile in someone's shoes you really cannot know that. And it's very presumptuous to judge someone's character based off some info from the internet and a crime from 60 years ago. You wouldn't want someone to assume they know everything about you based off one mistake, whether it was murder or not. One action does not define you. And I think all humans are capable of deep and meaningful change regardless.

The only way she would "profit from the murder" is if she did some type of "fictional tell all" a la OJ Simpson saying "if" I did it, here's how it happened. But she became a writer at 40 and did not release her identity until years later. Clearly it was something she was not proud of. And I'm sure she was punished in other ways other than her imprisonment... I'm sure she lost relationships with everyone from her early life and to this day deals with people who assume she's a horrible person. And while I'm not religious, the fact that she chose to become a Mormon suggests that she did some soul searching and was looking for some kind of redemption.

I'm not condoning murder, just think that we should not presume to judge someone without walking in their shoes. We don't know who she was 60 years ago.. and even if she was the same person now, we don't know her life then her life then or how she was raised. Or the type of person they murdered... or if someone persuaded an impressionable young girl to do it. At 15 I was mature for my age, but not all are... and I was very naive in many ways as well.

TL;DR / short version: let's not judge or assume to know ;)

Mi
Mar. 31, 2013, 07:47 PM
EEK, way longer than I thought it was or I would have done some editing xD