She's best known in New Zealand as the woman who killed her best friend's mother and sparked the story for Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures.

But in Britain, Anne Perry is a multi-million selling crime novelist.

Now, she's left her Scottish Highland idyll and has moved to Hollywood in her quest to have more of her novels adapted for television, according to the Daily Mail.

Author Anne Perry's four-bedroom property (pictured) is on the outskirts of the peaceful Easter Ross fishing village of Portmahomack.
Author Anne Perry's four-bedroom property (pictured) is on the outskirts of the peaceful Easter Ross fishing village of Portmahomack.

The writer, who has been dubbed the "queen of Victorian crime" and has sold more than 25 million books worldwide.

Advertisement

"I'll miss the views and I'll miss my gardens," says the 78-year-old, as she reminisces about Tyrn Vawr, her four-bedroom property on the outskirts of the peaceful Easter Ross fishing village of Portmahomack.

"Fortunately, it's all in my mind and in photographs, so I can go back any time I want."

Perry moved into Tyrn Vawr a quarter of a century ago and has written most of her books there.

Views from the property.
Views from the property.

Her settled existence has been quite the antidote to her earlier life: she lived in various parts of the world and went by a completely different name.

But, most arrestingly, she spent five years in prison in New Zealand after being convicted as a 15-year-old of the murder of her friend's mother.

Perry was born Juliet Hulme in London in 1938, but her family moved to New Zealand and she attended Christchurch Girls' High School, where she met local girl Pauline Parker.

The pair developed an obsessive relationship that was to have tragic consequences: when threatened with being torn apart, they murdered Pauline's mother Honora in 1954.

Inside the house.
Inside the house.

In 1994, Jackson turned the story into the film Heavenly Creatures and Kate Winslet played Hulme's character.

Advertisement

Perry has said of her part in the killing that she "made a profoundly wrong decision".

Having been told that she would be going to live in South Africa, and with Parker's mother standing in the way of the two teenagers both moving there, she feared Parker would take her own life "and it would be my fault".

Pauline Parker (l) and Juliet Hulme aka Anne Perry on their way to a preliminary court hearing in 1954. Photo / Christchurch Star
Pauline Parker (l) and Juliet Hulme aka Anne Perry on their way to a preliminary court hearing in 1954. Photo / Christchurch Star

The pair each served five years in prison, and Perry has said she spent the first three months in solitary.

"I was guilty and it was the right place for me to be."

Upon release, Perry took various jobs and for a time lived in the United States, before settling in Portmahomack.

She published her first book under the name Anne Perry in 1979.

It was The Cater Street Hangman, the first in her Inspector Pitt series, which two decades later was turned into an ITV television movie starring Keeley Hawes.

Perry, who has written more than 50 novels and who published the 32nd Inspector Pitt story last year, has done most of her work while living at the Scotish home, which she is particularly attached to because she built it herself - practically from scratch.

It is now on sale for offers over £440,000 (NZ$790,000).

Originally, she explains, "it was a wreck next door to the house I was living in. I heard they had got planning permission to make it into a shop that would mend motorbikes and lawnmowers and I thought, 'Not next to me you don't'.

"So I bought it in self-defence and then I looked at the ruins and thought it would make a marvellous house".

The story was turned into 1990s film Heavenly Creatures starring Kate Winslet.
The story was turned into 1990s film Heavenly Creatures starring Kate Winslet.

In the course of her writing career in Scotland, Perry spent most of her time at work in her special study, which has windows on three sides.

The contemporary look of the property belies the fact that it has been converted from the remains of an old barn.

Built in the shape of an H, the property has a spacious kitchen, library and sun room, and a conservatory that looks out on to a courtyard with a pond and water feature.

Upstairs, there are views of the Scottish Highlands.

"You can see five counties," Perry explains: "Caithness, Sutherland, Ross, Inverness-shire, and Moray."

The dining room is capable of seating 20 people and a pair of Italian chandeliers hang from the ceiling in the grand hall.

A keen lover of wildlife, Perry has sought to protect the beautiful surroundings she has enjoyed for future generations by buying up a neighbouring 17-acre field and creating a trust to ensure it isn't built on.