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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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Penguin Publishing Group 2012
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Description
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.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/24/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101580387
ASIN:
B0072NWJRK
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Paul French. (2012). Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Paul French. 2012. Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Paul French, Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China. Penguin Publishing Group, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Paul French. Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China. Penguin Publishing Group, 2012. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
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Date Updated:
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Midnight in Peking
fullDescription
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.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 12, 2011
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2012
        A suspenseful murder mystery set on the eve of the Japanese invasion of old Peking in 1937. In this deft reconstruction of events from newspaper and police reports, diaries and archives, Shanghai-based historian French (Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao, 2009, etc.) masterly portrays the graft-ridden milieu of pre-World War II China, where the arrogance of foreigners prevailed. The horribly mutilated body of a young woman, later identified as British schoolgirl Pamela Werner, was discovered at Fox Tower in Peking, on Jan. 8, 1937, to the shock of the foreign community. Initially, French pursues the official Chinese and British police angle, offering a grisly autopsy report and discussions of suspects such as Pamela's father, ETC Werner, an old China hand and former British consul. Detectives discovered that Pamela had been ice-skating with her girlfriend the night before and failed to make it home on her bicycle by dinnertime, as she had promised her father and cook. Compelling details emerge about the attractive young woman. She was scheduled to leave her school and return to England soon because of untoward advances made by her professor, and she had been courted by several men her father had disapproved of. Still, the official inquest stalled, Peking fell to the Japanese and the case petered out, except that Pamela's father doggedly took over, offering a reward and hiring his own detectives. Having long lived in Peking, Werner sensed that such a murder had not been committed by Chinese, but by the foreigners who congregated at the watering hole the Grand Hotel des Wagons Lits, and they were not telling the truth. French provides a wealth of historical detail about a vanished era in interwar Peking. A well-composed, engaging, lurid tale.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from March 15, 2012

        In January 1937, the mutilated body of Pamela Werner was found on the outskirts of old Peking (Beijing). After an unsuccessful investigation into the slaughter of this 19-year-old English expatriate, the case was eventually closed and forgotten as World War II escalated in China. Now Shanghai-based business analyst and historian French (Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao) reopens the cold case and attempts to bring some justice to Pamela's memory in this skillfully told true-crime thriller. French writes a remarkably coherent narrative by stringing together details from official police reports, newspaper articles, interviews, and, perhaps most helpful, E.T.C. Werner's report from his personal investigation into his daughter's horrific murder. VERDICT Treating his subjects with expertise and compassion, French creates a riveting portrait of the complicated tensions that existed during wartime in a city on the brink of destruction. As he slowly unravels the clues, he reveals a crime more shocking than anyone had ever imagined. This is a difficult book to put down! Recommended for readers interested in detective novels, Chinese history, and everything in between.--Rebekah Wallin, Paris, France

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 15, 2012
        Edward Werner was a noted sinologist and a former British consul living in Peking. His status as a resident foreigner when his daughter was murdered, in January of 1937, while Britain still exercised extraterritorial rights in China, ensured that the crime would merit a high-profile investigation. French has ably reconstructed the detective work and, most evocatively, the atmosphere in which it was conducted. A mood of doom and decadence prevailed in Peking, menaced by the Japanese army and teeming with down-and-outers and expatriates with pasts to conceal. Tracking the lead investigators, one Chinese and one British, French portrays the seedy underworld into which the clues led them, surfacing the detectives in the city's more respectable precincts as the eye of suspicion fell on one suspect or another. From the discovery of the bludgeoned body and throughout the investigation, French's narrative keeps the reader tightly gripped by and emotionally involved with the dead daughter and her obstreperous but determined father, who, after officials closed the case unsolved, pressed for the truth in his own remarkable inquiry. A fine true-crime narrative with crossover appeal to mystery mavens.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
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.

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      • value: Edgar Allan Poe Award
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How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
publisher
Penguin Publishing Group