Winner of the both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger from the author of City of Devils
Chronicling an incredible unsolved murder, Midnight in Peking captures the aftermath of the brutal killing of a British schoolgirl in January 1937. The mutilated body of Pamela Werner was found at the base of the Fox Tower, which, according to local superstition, is home to the maliciously seductive fox spirits. As British detective Dennis and Chinese detective Han investigate, the mystery only deepens and, in a city on the verge of invasion, rumor and superstition run rampant. Based on seven years of research by historian and China expert Paul French, this true-crime thriller presents readers with a rare and unique portrait of the last days of colonial Peking.
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.
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Very Well Written
A wonderful look at old Peking and an engrossing crime story that was never solved by Chinese or English authorities of the day. Terrible crime and a fathers dogged attempts to get justice for his cruelly murdered daughter.