Behind the scenes

It's sixty years today since Christchurch's most notorious murder.

On this day in 1954, best friends Pauline Parker (16) and Juliet Hulme (15) killed Pauline's mother, Honora, in Victoria Park, Christchurch. After a sensational week-long trial they were found guilty, sentenced to indefinite imprisonment, and ordered never to contact each other again. The murder, which was seen by many as the sign of an impending crazed-teen apocalypse, inspired Michaelanne Forster's play Daughters of Heaven and Peter Jackson's film Heavenly Creatures. It is also, of course, the elephant in the room behind Ann Shelton's jarringly serene Doublet - a paired photograph taken at the site of the murder. This, by the way, may or may not have been the point of the trail where my sister used to grab my shoulder and whisper 'THIS is where they did it!' in my terrified ear.