Creator of 'Inspector Monk' to speak in Juneau

Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2001

Anne Perry has gone back in time, but she's never been to Alaska. Until now.

The English novelist, who lives in Scotland, is the author of more than 30 mysteries set in Victorian England. She's created two separate series of books, "Thomas Pitt" and "Inspector Monk" mysteries.

Perry will be in Juneau and Hoonah next week, answering questions, talking about her work and signing books. She'll be at the Douglas library at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and will talk about writing at the University of Alaska Southeast at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at Whitehead Building 210. She'll be speaking to an English class, but the public is welcome to sit in.

Juneau librarian Carol Race said a mystery writers convention in Anchorage is responsible for bringing Perry to Alaska.

"She's going to the Left Coast Crime Conference this weekend," Race said. "The people setting up the conference made all the authors available to places throughout Alaska. The authors are quite excited about that. They're going to many Bush communities."

Perry will be addressing students at the high school in Hoonah following her trip to Juneau.

Left Coast Crime 2001 meets this weekend at the Anchorage Hilton. About 100 authors of crime fiction have been invited and Alaska writer Dana Stabenow, one of the organizers, said the group expects 400 to 600 readers and fans to attend. The Alaska Sisters in Crime, an Anchorage-based group of mystery and fiction writers, is hosting the writer's convention.

Perry was born in London in 1938 and grew up in England and New Zealand. She lived in the United States during the late 1960s, working on her writing but not having success getting published. She returned to England in the early 1970s and her first novel, "The Cater Street Hangman" was published in 1979. Now more than seven million copies of her books are in print.

She's explored a range of topics in her books, from the morality of dealing in arms, to religion and evolution, to abortion, all in the context of mysteries set in Victorian England.

She wrote in her biography that, "I believe there's a great deal that can be said in this format. It is the eternal conflict of ethics, questions of cause and effect, complicated morality, the subtler reasons why people do things, and individual's and society's responsibilities. There is no reason why serious thoughts cannot be raised by a story which involved a gripping plot about characters we like."

Her readership is almost exclusively American. Her first book is still in print in the United States, more than 20 years after it was first published, and was just printed for the first time in England. It was also recently filmed as a movie for British television.

Her most recent book, "Slaves of Obsession," is set against the backdrop of the Civil War, and was published last October.

Riley Woodford can be reached at

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