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Murder at Wrotham Hill
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Murder at Wrotham Hill

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  72 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Before dawn on 31 October 1946, less than a year after the slaughter of World War Two, on a bleak roadside in Kent, a lone woman looks to hitch a lift to London. A lorry driver stops. The encounter ends in murder.

The victim, Dagmar Petrzywalski, is a gentle eccentric spinster. She had sought the peace of the countryside after her London home was bombed. She is the embodime
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Quercus
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Feb 15, 2016 Gerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dagmar Petrzywalski (the family later used the surname Peters) was a gentle, shy, retiring, eccentric spinster who lived in a hut, named 'The Vic', on land adjacent to her mother on the Hever Estate, West Kingsdown, Kent. One of Dagmar's eccentricities was that she liked to hitch-hike to London in the early morning before then getting a bus or train to visit her brother. This was to cost her her life.

The family had relocated to the Hever Estate after their London home was bombed in the blitz. Da
Lizzie Hayes
Jan 20, 2013 Lizzie Hayes rated it really liked it
This is a marvelous piece of writing, the story meticulously researched. Murder at Wrotham Hill charts the progression of events and the lives of those involved in the killing in October 1946 of middle-aged spinster Dagmar Petrzywalski. Her body was discovered by a lorry driver, and only because he saw a shoe lying by the roadside that looked new and would probably fit his wife, especially if he could find the other one.

Dagmar was a gentle person, reclusive and slightly eccentric in her ways, bu
Apr 08, 2013 Jo rated it really liked it
In October 1946 the body of a middle aged woman was found in the Kent undergrowth by a lorry driver. This is the true story of her murder and the apprehension of her killer. But the author also shows us life for the 'participants' in the run-up to the killing and throughout the Second World War. Great accessible writing style and strangely makes me want to visit the pretty little villages mentioned.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jan 21, 2013 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘A woman’s shoe, flat and dark blue, lay on the grass verge two feet from the kerb halfway up Wrotham Hill in Kent.’

The shoe was spotted by Joe Hammond, a passing driver. He stopped. In Britain in 1946 good shoes were expensive and required clothing coupons. Joe hoped to find the other shoe and that the pair would fit his wife.

‘A chance find was not to be passed by.’

The other shoe was attached to a woman’s body, and he knew at once that she had been murdered.

In this book, Ms Souhami writes both
Sep 23, 2016 Bridget rated it liked it
The descriptions of life directly after WWII were interesting. The murder itself, not so interesting.
Apr 30, 2014 Penny rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Well researched and well written account of a murder in the 1940's - not one I had heard of before.
Very sad tale of 'Miss Dagmar Peters', a spinster maiden lady with the unfortunate habit of hitching early morning lifts with lorry drivers into London to save bus and train fares. She always refused a lift in a private car, maintaining that lorry drivers were safe and honest. Unfortunately early one October morning she met lorry driver Sid Sinclair.
The book is excellent at describing the strugg
Aug 06, 2013 Deanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
A crime I've not seen much written about, Dagmar Petrzywalski a middle aged woman is murdered and dumped on the side of the road. The murder happens in 1946 and has all the ingredients for an interesting case.
However the author seems to go off at tangents, this appears to be an effort to pad the story out with the criminals family story, as well as the victims.
There's even a couple of pages taken up by the murder of the doctor's child over twenty years before, interesting yes, but relevant to t
Aug 06, 2013 Adrian added it
In October 1946 Dagmar Petrazywalski was hitchhiking in southern England and was picked up by Sidney Sinclair and strangled by him in his truck. Souhami uses this 'unimportant' crime as the focal point for a more rounded picture of England at this time. This is a grim book. England was still reeling from six years of war and Souhami's plain style of writing accentuates the hard times. Sometimes her mixing of world events with the very local murder feels forced but the point about this murder ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Veronica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I seem to have forgotten to review this. It wasn't fantastic, but it was an interesting concept. Don't pick it up thinking you're going to get a true-crime/whodunnit sort of book. The crime is a hook for an examination of British society in the late 1940s. What dismal, improvised lives people led. Sometimes Souhami gets a bit too far off track -- the life story of Albert Pierrepoint, already a bit marginal to the story, led to a diversion to Auschwitz. I could see that it was a bit relevant, in ...more
Jan 26, 2013 David rated it liked it
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Morag Gray
Feb 04, 2016 Morag Gray rated it liked it
This is an account of a sad and unremarkable murder, if any murder can be unremarkable. The author inserts her own opinions on society in the 1940s, and seems to have crammed in all the research she did, in order not to waste it. It could be a good hundred pages shorter, and not taken anything away from the story. Otherwise, it is quite good.
John Morris
Nov 30, 2014 John Morris rated it liked it
Interesting portrait of Britain before, during and after the war. Not totally devoted to the case of the title as tangents abound of various characters and thoughts on the rights and wrongs of capital punishment.
Alfred Nettleingham
Jan 28, 2015 Alfred Nettleingham rated it liked it
This book really brings to life the suffering and conditions that the less well off had to endure, before during and after the second world war, also demonstrates how efficient and thorough the police at that time were at hunting down a murder suspect.
Apr 17, 2013 Lesley rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A book describing the case of a murder in the post-war years solved by Britain's first celebrity detective. It turns out to be a fairly straightforward tale. The book loses its way towards the end with a diversion into German war crimes and the rights and wrongs of capital punishment.
Helen Carolan
Apr 10, 2016 Helen Carolan rated it it was amazing
A great read. the back story and social history covered are what really made this book for me. the austerity of the years is well dealt with. enjoyed this one.
Elizabeth Newton
May 04, 2014 Elizabeth Newton rated it it was amazing
Really well-written and researched account of a murder in 1946 at Wrotham in Kent. Such sad, difficult and unfulfilling lives lived by the key characters. Thought- provoking and well worth reading.
Dianne Noble
Dianne Noble rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2016
Hazel rated it liked it
Nov 14, 2014
Irina Yankulova
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Jan 07, 2014
Orchestre rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2013
John Fullerton
John Fullerton rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2015
Vinnie rated it it was ok
Jan 27, 2014
Elaine Jamieson
Elaine Jamieson rated it it was ok
Jan 04, 2016
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Diana Souhami was brought up in London and studied philosophy at Hull University. She worked in the publications department of the BBC before turning to biography. In 1986 she was approached by Pandora Press and received a commission to write a biography of Hannah Gluckstein. Souhami became a full-time writer publishing biographies which mostly explore the most influential and intriguing of 20th ...more
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