The "Norasearch" Diary - by Andrew Conway


On the first of May 1999 I started researching the history of Honorah Parker, victim of the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case. Nothing in my life qualified me for this. I was just an up-and-coming screenwriter with a few treatments optioned who used to work in daytime TV, now taking a year out to write scripts. But I did live in Birmingham, England, and Honorah Parker just happened to have been born there.

When I turned over the first clue in the 'Norasearch' (as I came to call it), I didn't realise how much time I'd end up giving to it and how much of an emotional investment I'd be making. This is a diary of the search, giving the discoveries pretty much as I made them, including some of the dead ends and false leads. It's a detective story about a murder victim, in which the detective is trying to unmask the victim, not the killers. Of all the players in the Parker-Hulme case, Honorah Parker was the most neglected, forgotten in the near-indecent fascination for the murderers.

When this detective started turning over the clues, there was no photograph of her available, no one knew her real age, her history, nor even, as I discovered, the correct spelling of her name.

Like all quests, outside the realm of fantasy, this is a quest without a grail, without hope of completion, ongoing, unfinished. It can never give the whole story of Honorah Parker no matter how many documents come to light from the archives. But if it can throw even a little light on this woman in the shadows, it will at least achieve something.

This diary, then, is dedicated to Honorah Mary Parker, who was born in Birmingham on 18 December 1907, and murdered in Christchurch on 22 June 1954.

Andrew Conway
Birmingham, UK
August 1999

Copyright © 1999 Andrew Conway. All Rights Reserved.