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A6 Rebooted

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  • I shall be interested to learn if you think it’s worth buying the book even though he’s on the other side of the fence.


    • Originally posted by ansonman View Post

      Was Shadows of Deadman's Hill worth reading?
      I submitted a review of this book on Amazon UK about 5 years ago. Just my own honest opinion, taken from the perspective of a believer in Hanratty's innocence.
      For what it's worth [or otherwise] here is a copy of that review......

      I first read this offensive book shortly after it was published around 2002. I read it again a couple or so years later and found it even more offensive. I gave it to a friend back in 2008 as that was the only book missing from his A6 murder library. He described it as 'a load of tripe'. In my opinion it requires a great deal of patience on the part of the reader as the author is obsessed with speculating, hypothesising and arrogantly stating and assuming as fact so many things that aren't true and there is just no evidence for. He apparently is a lecturer, not a writer, and quite unlike Paul Foot and Bob Woffinden has done no original or independent research into the A6 murder case. He is smugly content to plagiarise large sections of their books. That which he doesn't actually plagiarise he simply paraphrases.
      Miller claims in his book that prior to the DNA tests he was 'a firm believer in the innocence of James Hanratty' [p131]. I don't believe this claim for one second. If this were so then it means that he has allowed the mountain of evidence pointing to Hanratty's innocence to fly completely out of the window. How fickle is that ? The particular DNA technique used in the tests, LCN [Low Copy Number], has been shown to be ultra sensitive and thereby nowhere nearly as reliable as conventional DNA methods. So sensitive in fact that 99% of the world's 200 plus nations will not adopt it. The only nations to place any credence in it are the UK, Netherlands and New Zealand. That should speak volumes and send alarm bells ringing.
      In my opinion the book is a shoddy piece of work, the author couldn't even be bothered to provide the reader with an index section. Miller is often very dismissive of Paul Foot's highly impressive 1971 book and his meticulous research into the case. He is also very uncharitable and rude about Jean Justice and his two impressive books on the case. Some of the things Miller proposes are unbelievable and just plain ridiculous [ a word Miller himself loves to use]. An example of this is his suggestion that Hanratty had [sometime between late March 1961 and October 1961 ] seen the previous year's Hitchcock movie 'Psycho' at some unknown cinema and assumed the surname 'Bates' [after Anthony Perkin's character in the movie 'Norman Bates'] when arrested by police in Blackpool on October 11th, giving the name 'Peter Bates'. Really !! Another ludicrous example can be seen by his suggestion that when Hanratty took a girlfriend [Gladys Deacon] for a drive in the country to Bedford on September 23rd 1961 he was revisiting the scene of the crime to coincide [don't laugh] with the month anniversary of the murder. Miller conveniently doesn't mention the fact that it was a Saturday, that he had only bought his Sunbeam car three days earlier and that Bedford is about 10 miles from the murder scene at Deadman's Hill, Maulden.
      I recently obtained a copy of this objectionable book, paying 25 for the non-privilege [silly old me]. Revisiting this shoddy and careless piece of work I have to say that I found it even more offensive. The book's margins are now littered with pencilled remarks of mine, far too numerous[ and time-consuming] to include in my review. My advice to any would be purchasers of this travesty of a book would be to not waste any hard earned cash on such an amateurish, speculative and arrogantly written book. The asking price for this book by some profiteering sellers is perverse, some are asking in excess of 100. It's not worth a hundred pence in my opinion. Any fair-minded person who has researched this enigmatic case to any degree may also come away feeling offended after reading this book.

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      "A body of men, HOLDING THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO NOBODY, ought not to be trusted by anybody." --Thomas Paine ["Rights of Man"]

      "Justice is an ideal which transcends the expedience of the State, or the sensitivities of Government officials, or private individuals. IT HAS TO BE PURSUED WHATEVER THE COST IN PEACE OF MIND TO THOSE CONCERNED." --'Justice of the Peace' [July 12th 1975]


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        From the British Social History page on Facebook.


        • I think it was unlikely the policemen would have arrived at Deadmans Hill while the incident was happening. If they had arrived after they could have got Valerie to hospital earlier. If they had arrived before Hanratty wouldn't have wanted to stop there, but if the police car was visible from the road Gregsten might have deliberately driven in towards it - as this was similar to their plan.

          At the price of a medium Cafe Latte you have little to lose in buying Miller. One thing that surprises me is how Stickler and Miller ignore Alphon's alibi of booking in at the Broadway House Hotel.


          • PC Les Barker’s account reads like a person keen to insert himself into the action of a historic event. He never saw Hanratty or the car, far less the crime. The accounts of his refreshment break and writing up of notes are less than gripping and add absolutely nothing towards our understanding of what happened.

            I appreciate his account is for a Facebook readership.


            • Originally posted by Sherlock Houses View Post

              I submitted a review of this book on Amazon UK about 5 years ago. Just my own honest opinion, taken from the perspective of a believer in Hanratty's innocence.
              For what it's worth [or otherwise] here is a copy of that review......

              Very interesting.

              So you bought Shadows of Deadmans Hill in 2002 or thereabouts paying about 11 for it, read it and were greatly offended by it. On rereading it, you were even more offended, so much so that you lent it to one of your wide circle of friends, who presumably did not return it, as some years later you felt you needed to buy another copy for 25.

              Miller has retitled his book as Hanratty's Guilt: The A6 Murder and its Aftermath. It is available on Amazon in Kindle form for 2.99 or as a paperback (for those that want to make pencil notes in the margin) for 11.99. Miller has addressed some of the issues with his earlier book but not all, e.g. the hero of our story is given the additional Christian name of "Francis" and becomes James Francis Hanratty, which was his dad's full name. Miller has also provided an index and a bibliography.

              At 2.99 it is 36p cheaper than a Latte from Costa so as NickB says, you have little to lose with it but you must accept the risk of being offended by its contents.

              Last edited by Spitfire; 10-22-2022, 09:51 AM.


              • My copy of the book arrived two days ago and i haven't started it yet. It runs to about 350 pages and has an index. If he maintains that he believed in Hanratty's innocence up until the DNA evidence, that will be a big disappointment but let's see.


                • Read to page 123 on kindle. Couldn’t proceed any further. Too full of pointless innuendo, and prejudices of Woffinden and Foot. It’s clear to me from this effort that this guy wrote another version cos he’s short of dough.


                  • I managed to get as far as page 205 of the book before giving up.


                    • I purchased the kindle edition and found it has not been correctly formatted for the kindle (or any typical ebook formatting). Rather, it looks like a PDF of the paperback e.g. with pages that don't reflow according to the size of your screen, black text on white background that you can't adjust to your own colour preferences for comfortable reading. You can search for words but this makes the inclusion of the index redundant.
                      In terms of the content, I thought Miller made the point well Hanratty admitted to first visiting Paddington station that would have been required to travel to Slough.
                      I recently came across Case Studies of Famous Trials and the construction of guilt and innocence by Caroline Gorden and Christopher Birbeck (2022) Chapter 2 of which is wholly about the A6 murder. It references Miller (2001) more than any other writer but also Moles and Sangha.


                      • Just watched ‘A rather English scandal’ series about Jeremy Thorpes shenanigans from 1961. Holy smokes there was some controversial stuff hitting the fan that year eh? Interesting note, Thorpe was willing to pay 7500 pounds to have his lover murdered! Some posters on here figured 1 or 2 hundred would suffice. Alphons 5000 quid showing up in his account seems more realistic to me.