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Murder at Wrotham Hill Paperback – 4 Jul 2013
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'A brilliantly formulated and well-written account of a tawdry murder that shines a bright light on postwar austerity England' Jenny Diski, London Review of Books. (London Review of Books)
'Souhami's hypnotic narrative grips throughout' Daily Telegraph. (Daily Telegraph)
'Superbly captures the shattered mood in this era, and shows us ordinary men and women grappling with new definitions of good and evil ... Murder At Wrotham Hill is more than a pacy whodunit ... It reads, above all, like an unsettling dream' Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday. (Mail on Sunday)
'Evokes these drab, joyless [postwar] years with painful brilliance, so that one can almost feel the shabby poverty and smell the foggy, coal-dust-filled air' Juliet Gardiner, Spectator. (Spectator)
'Souhami's dissection of the murder is completely engrossing in its insistence that fatality is about fallible human beings' The Times. (The Times)
About the Author
Diana Souhami is the author of Coconut Chaos, Selkirk's Island (winner of the Whitbread Biography award), The Trials of Radclyffe Hall (shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography and winner of the US Lambda Literary Award), the bestselling Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter (also winner of the Lambda Literary Award and a New York Times 'Notable Book of the Year'). She lives in London and Devon.
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The last quarter of the book, in particular I refer to the penultimate chapter entitled: `The Executioner', I felt drifted too far away from the main subject. The link between this murder and the Nazi war criminals' prosecution at the Luneburg Court and the subsequent hanging of 226 of them between 1945 and 1948 was the executioner Albert Pierrepoint. That really is the only link and I don't think it was appropriate in this book to discuss at such length the crimes committed by these war criminals. I was not expecting to read such a harrowing account within this book; it took me by surprise. Certainly it is a topic worthy of many books, not just one, but I believe the author somewhat lost the plot in this chapter. Having said that she does raise some interesting points about the morality of killing by the state and compares this to the slaughtering of animals. For this deviation from the point I give this book four stars, otherwise I would be have rated it five stars.
I would certainly recommend this book; my negativity about the penultimate chapter is not a reason not to read it.
Not what I expected but interesting.