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Midnight in Peking : How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
by Paul French

Overview -

Winner of the both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger

Peking in 1937 is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, opulence and opium dens, rumors and superstition. The Japanese are encircling the city, and the discovery of Pamela Werner's body sends a shiver through already nervous Peking.  Read more...


 
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More About Midnight in Peking by Paul French
 
 
 
Overview

Winner of the both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger

Peking in 1937 is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, opulence and opium dens, rumors and superstition. The Japanese are encircling the city, and the discovery of Pamela Werner's body sends a shiver through already nervous Peking. Is it the work of a madman? One of the ruthless Japanese soldiers now surrounding the city? Or perhaps the dreaded fox spirits? With the suspect list growing and clues sparse, two detectives--one British and one Chinese--race against the clock to solve the crime before the Japanese invade and Peking as they know it is gone forever. Can they find the killer in time, before the Japanese invade?

Historian and China expert Paul French at last uncovers the truth behind this notorious murder, and offers a rare glimpse of the last days of colonial Peking.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780143121008
  • ISBN-10: 0143121006
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Publish Date: April 2012
  • Page Count: 260
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP


Related Categories

Books > True Crime > Murder - General
Books > History > Asia - China

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-12-12
  • Reviewer: Staff

Historian French (Through the Looking Glass: China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao) unravels a long-forgotten 1937 murder in this fascinating look at Peking (now Beijing) on the brink of Japanese occupation. The severely mutilated body of 19-year-old Pamela Werner—the adopted daughter of noted Sinologist and longtime Peking resident Edward Werner—was discovered, with many of her organs removed, near the border between the Badlands, a warren of alleyways full of brothels and opium dens, and the Legation Quarter, where Peking’s foreign set resided in luxury. A case immediately fraught with tension was made even trickier when the local detective, Col. Han Shih-ching, was made to work alongside Scotland Yard–trained Richard Dennis, based in Tientsin. The investigation soon stalled: the actual scene of Pamela’s murder could not be found, and leads fizzled out. As China’s attention turned to the looming Japanese occupation, the case was deemed “unsolved.” French painstakingly reconstructs the crime and depicts the suspects—using Werner’s own independent research, conducted after authorities refused to reopen his daughter’s case. Compelling evidence is coupled with a keen grasp of Chinese history in French’s worthy account. (May)

 
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