Post war austerity leads to murder,
This review is from: Murder at Wrotham Hill (Paperback)
1946 and Britain is suffering from post-War austerity. Dagmar Petrzywalski lives alone in a hut next door to her mother's bungalow, she is a spinster who retired from her work as a telephonist and is not well-off. She likes to save money when travelling by getting cheap rail tickets but to get to the station she has to hitch hick early in the morning. Harold Hagger is a small-time criminal living under an alias and working as a lorry driver, several years ago he jumped from a train whilst in custody and sustained brain damage that means that he occasionally blacks out. Harold is driven by impulse and that is dangerous to all those he comes into contact with.
Early one autumn morning a body is found on the roadside at Wrotham Hill. A woman has been strangled and dumped afterwards, she is soon identified as Dagmar. Who would want to kill an innocent and eccentric woman like her? This is the premise for a story of old-fashioned detective work that reflects the lives of a series of characters making up a strata of society rarely considered.
Despite the fact that this is a completely factual book, the prose is very well-written and sympathetic to all the characters. The lives of the victim, the criminal, the policeman and the executioner are all considered and contrasted. Life for the working classes was hard before, during and after the war and crime and the black market were rife. After all this though the story of the murder at Wrotham Hill leaves one feeling sad that society could not help either of the principles have a better life.