One drizzily autumn morning in 1946, a lorry driver picked up a female hitchhiker on Wrotham Hill in Kent and strangled her. Less than six months later he was facing hangman Albert Pierrepoint in Wandsworth prison.
The victim was Dagmar Petrzywalski, a spinster who lived in a wooden hut after her home was destroyed in the Blitz. Her murderer was a small-time crook with a violent past.
Diana Souhami's incisive and cleverly researched account uses this curious incident to flesh out the drabber realities of post-war life – an impressive creative feat.Reuse content