Midnight In Peking: How The Murder Of A Young Englishwoman Haunted The Last Days Of Old China

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Midnight In Peking: How The Murder Of A Young Englishwoman Haunted The Last Days Of Old China

by Paul French

Penguin Books | August 27, 2014 | Hardcover |

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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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 Pages, 6.3 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: August 27, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143121006

ISBN - 13: 9780143121008

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– More About This Product –

Midnight In Peking: How The Murder Of A Young Englishwoman Haunted The Last Days Of Old China

by Paul French

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 Pages, 6.3 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: August 27, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143121006

ISBN - 13: 9780143121008

About the Book

Peking, January 1937. The murder of a beautiful young British woman sends shockwaves through the city. With the suspect list growing, two detectivesNone British and one ChineseNrace against the clock to solve the crime before the Japanese invade and Peking.

Read from the Book

The eastern section of old Peking has been dominated since the fifteenth century by a looming watchtower, built as part of the Tartar Wall to protect the city from invaders. Known as the Fox Tower, it was believed to be haunted by fox spirits, a superstition that meant the place was deserted at night. After dark the area became the preserve of thousands of bats, which lived in the eaves of the Fox Tower and flitted across the moonlight like giant shadows. The only other living presence was the wild dogs, whose howling kept the locals awake. On winter mornings the wind stung exposed hands and eyes, carrying dust from the nearby Gobi Desert. Few people ventured out early at this time of year, opting instead for the warmth of their beds. But just before dawn on 8 January 1937, rickshaw pullers passing along the top of the Tartar Wall, which was wide enough to walk or cycle on, noticed lantern lights near the base of the Fox Tower, and indistinct figures moving about. With neither the time nor the inclination to stop, they went about their business, heads down, one foot in front of the other, avoiding the fox spirits. When daylight broke on another freezing day, the tower was deserted once more. The colony of bats circled one last time before the creeping sun sent them back to their eaves. But in the icy wasteland between the road and the tower, the wild dogs—the huang gou – were prowling curiously, sniffing at something alongside a ditch. It was the body of a young w
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

Paul French lives in Shanghai, where he is a business advisor and analyst. He frequently comments on China for the English-speaking press around the world. French studied history, economics, and Mandarin at university and has an M.Phil. in economics from the University of Glasgow.

Editorial Reviews

“This is a good murder story, well told, with all the additional pleasures that a knowledgeable tour guide to old China can provide. Grateful readers could scarcely ask for more.”  – Joseph Kanon, author of Istanbul Passage , in The Washington Post “Never less than fascinating… one of the best portraits of between-the-wars China that has yet been written.” – The Wall Street Journal “Midnight in Peking is both a detective story and a social history, and therefore – as it should – always keeps the hunt for Pamela’s killers somewhere near the center of the narrative. [Paul French] is a wonderfully dexterous guide” – Jonathan Spence in The New York Review of Books “A crime story set among sweeping events is reminiscent of Graham Greene, particularly The Third Man, while French''s terse, tightly-focussed style has rightly been compared to Chandler. Midnight in Peking deserves a place alongside both these masters.” – The Independent “A page-turning and fascinating true crime book. This is a genre-breaker that captures the atmosphere of 1930s Peking.” – The Bookseller [selected as One to Watch] “…the most talked-about read in town this year.” – The New Yorker’s Page-Turner Blog “Midnight in Peking is true-crime writing at its best, full of vivid characters, an exotic locale, secrets galore, and a truly bewildering mystery.”
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