> The Things You Can Read: Review: Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

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

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


Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction

Publisher/Publication Date: Penguin/Nonclassics  (Published 4/24/2012)

Source: Net Galley

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Finished or Not Finished:  Yes,  I finished this one.  Excellent nonfiction read.  I love nonfiction to read like fiction, and this one does.

One-sentence summary: It is 1937, glimpse inside old Peking in the last days of colonialism where mayhem and murder go hand-in-hand.

My thoughts on the cover art: Eye-catching cover, which captures what the book is about.

I'm reminded of...: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by

First line: "The eastern section of old Peking has been dominated since the fifteenth century by a looming watchtower, built as part of the Tartar all to protect the city from invaders." Midnight in

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid: Borrow or buy if you are a fan of true crime.

Why did I ask for this book to review?: Based on the description it sounded more like fiction and again proved the old saying that truth is stranger than fiction.

Other Thoughts: 
Fascinating how a footnote in one book can lead to so much more.  The author,

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Courtesy Net Galley:

Historian 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. He studied history, economics, and Mandarin at university and has an M. Phill in economics from the University of Glasgow. His previous books include Carl Crow: A Tough Old China Hand and Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao.
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