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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 Cover

ISBN13: 9780143121008
ISBN10: 0143121006
Condition: Student Owned
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Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

In the last days of old Peking, where anything goes, can a murderer escape justice?

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.

Review:

"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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Clue by clue, Paul French uncovers the truth of a bizarre murder case that shocked Peking in 1937. In doing so, he draws a chilling portrait of the city's decadent, violent and overly-privileged Euro-American expatriate community. It is a feat comparable to that of White Mischief. Fascinating and irresistible. I couldn't put it down." John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Review:

"Simply marvelous! An atmospheric who-done-it in which the setting is pre-communist China, incorporating the last tottering edges of the British empire, a cast of enigmatic foreigners, and Peking bracing as Japan invades and brings the last of Old China to its knees. The mysterious and seemingly motiveless killing of a young English girl by a spirit-haunted gate in Peking is much more than it appears." Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel

Review:

"The best true crime stories are tales of place as well as people, evoking the long shadows of our often haunted history. And Paul French's book, Midnight in Peking, is among the best. As the mystery surrounding the bloody death of a young woman in pre-World War II Peking unfolds, French carries the reader on a journey through the city's twisting streets and equally twisted politics. The result is a real-life story ultimately as suspenseful as any modern thriller." Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz-Age New York

Review:

"Paul French wonderfully evokes [the] place in that time and, amazingly, manages to bring some sense of closure to this long-forgotten mystery. This book is an instant true crime classic, which grips and hooks from the first page to the last." David Peace, author of The Red Riding Quartet

Review:

"Historian French unravels a long-forgotten 1937 murder in this fascinating look at Peking (now Beijing) on the brink of Japanese occupation. French painstakingly reconstructs the crime and depicts the suspects... compelling evidence is coupled with a keen grasp of Chinese history in French's worthy account." Publisher's Weekly

Review:

"French provides a wealth of historical detail about a vanished era in interwar Peking... A well-composed, engaging, lurid tale." Kirkus

Synopsis:

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

Synopsis:

In the last days of old Peking, where anything goes, can a murderer escape justice?

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 detectivesandmdash;one British and one Chineseandmdash;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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Abigail Elias, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Abigail Elias)
This is an account of efforts to solve the mystery of how and why and by whom a young woman was murdered. In the process, the account introduces the reader to different neighborhoods, populations and personalities in Beijing at the time. The narrative is interesting for those reasons, but those aspects do not bog it down and the reader will keep turning the pages to see if and how the mystery is solved.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780143121008
Author:
French, Paul
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
Crime - True Crime
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20120431
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 pp 4-color photos on insert stock
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
33 x 10.5 x 8.5 in 13.75 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
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History and Social Science » Asia » China » General
History and Social Science » Asia » China » Revolutionary 1911 to 1949
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » China
History and Social Science » World History » General
Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China Used Hardcover
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$14.00 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Penguin (Non-Classics) - English 9780143121008 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Clue by clue, Paul French uncovers the truth of a bizarre murder case that shocked Peking in 1937. In doing so, he draws a chilling portrait of the city's decadent, violent and overly-privileged Euro-American expatriate community. It is a feat comparable to that of White Mischief. Fascinating and irresistible. I couldn't put it down."
"Review" by , "Simply marvelous! An atmospheric who-done-it in which the setting is pre-communist China, incorporating the last tottering edges of the British empire, a cast of enigmatic foreigners, and Peking bracing as Japan invades and brings the last of Old China to its knees. The mysterious and seemingly motiveless killing of a young English girl by a spirit-haunted gate in Peking is much more than it appears."
"Review" by , "The best true crime stories are tales of place as well as people, evoking the long shadows of our often haunted history. And Paul French's book, Midnight in Peking, is among the best. As the mystery surrounding the bloody death of a young woman in pre-World War II Peking unfolds, French carries the reader on a journey through the city's twisting streets and equally twisted politics. The result is a real-life story ultimately as suspenseful as any modern thriller." Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz-Age New York
"Review" by , "Paul French wonderfully evokes [the] place in that time and, amazingly, manages to bring some sense of closure to this long-forgotten mystery. This book is an instant true crime classic, which grips and hooks from the first page to the last."
"Review" by , "Historian French unravels a long-forgotten 1937 murder in this fascinating look at Peking (now Beijing) on the brink of Japanese occupation. French painstakingly reconstructs the crime and depicts the suspects... compelling evidence is coupled with a keen grasp of Chinese history in French's worthy account."
"Review" by , "French provides a wealth of historical detail about a vanished era in interwar Peking... A well-composed, engaging, lurid tale."
"Synopsis" by ,
Winner of the both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger
 
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.

"Synopsis" by ,

In the last days of old Peking, where anything goes, can a murderer escape justice?

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 detectivesandmdash;one British and one Chineseandmdash;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.

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