Anne Perry

AbeBooks Exclusive Interview With Anne Perry

Millions of readers around the world have enjoyed the mystery and intrigue of Anne Perry's books. Richard Davies recently spoke with Anne about her favourite books, authors and interests.

Anne Perry has been a published author since 1979 when The Cater Street Hangman hit the bookshelves. Now she has 50 books to her name with Long Spoon Lane – a tale of Victorian terrorism – her latest effort published April 2005.

Born in London in 1938, her father encouraged her to write but her career started slowly. Anne began putting together a draft of a book called Come Armageddon (eventually published in 2002) in her early 20s but it took another 20 years before she finally had a story published. Air stewardess, limousine dispatcher in Beverly Hills and insurance underwriter were just some of her jobs before taking up full-time writing.

Anne has two long-running series of books set in Victorian Britain. Sleuths Charlotte and Thomas Pitt are her original heroes, while William Monk, another 19th century crime-buster, offers a darker character.

“I write about the Victorian era because there is demand for it,” Anne said. “The publisher likes it – it’s as simple as that. When The Cater Street Hangman sold, I had no intention of stopping. I don’t really think the Victorian plots are transferable to any other era because I do a lot of research for each story.

“Please don’t think that I’m just interested in Victorian England. I am fascinated by the French Revolution, World War One which I’ve written about in several books, and also the Spanish Inquisition. I’m a lover of history. I love poetry too – the Georgians especially. I’m a fan of GK Chesterton, but I enjoy modern authors like Jonathan Kellerman and Michael Connolly.”

Her work also includes a mini-series set in World War One that includes No Graves As Yet and Shoulder the Sky.

Anne lives and writes in Portmahomack, a Scottish coastal village, where her house overlooks the sea. “I write each book in the same method,” she said. “I write a synopsis covering about 20 to 40 pages and then use that document as the basis for the book. I write six days each week.”

Long Spoon Lane is set in 1893 and concerns an anarchist bombing campaign. Agent Thomas Pitt captures two bombers but a third, a parliament member's son, is killed. His investigations uncover internal corruption, while the plot mirrors modern-day anti-terrorist measures.

I’ve just completed a 26-city book tour so I saw security measures in airports and elsewhere every day,” said Anne. “It’s topical and I understand completely why security is necessary.”