When I fancied a break from fiction and wasn’t quite ready to return to work-related book a few weeks ago I indulged in Murder at Wrotham Hill by Diana Souhami. It’s been on my reading list for a while after I read a review in the Saturday Guardian and thought it sounded like my kind of book.
It’s a well written tale of the demise of a middle-aged woman Dagmar who is brutally murdered on a dank and dark Autumn lane in post-war Kent. Dagmar lived in conditions that remind you how much times have changed since 1946. Her independence and lack of other options meant that she chose to live alone in a hut next to her mother’s bungalow. She lived a respectable and hard working life and was committed to her family with few close friends. And she liked to get up to London as cheaply as possible to see them, by getting lifts very early in the morning from passing lorry drivers.
The book unpicks her murder and also interweaves the context of the time and how murder was treated by the detectives, pathologists and war crimes judges of the day. It’s as much social history as it is a non-fiction crime book, and it’s all the better for it.