Praise for Midnight in Peking

“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. This is a difficult book to put down!”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Terrific, engrossing ... a gruesome tale of a hitherto forgotten case, and of the sheer tenacity of a grieving father.”

The Bookseller (selected as “One to Watch”)

“French provides a wealth of historical detail about a vanished era in interwarPeking... a well-composed, engaging, lurid tale.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Historian French unravels a long-forgotten 1937 murder in this fascinating look at Peking (nowBeijing) 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


“This book is captivating, a wild rickshaw ride into the lost world of 1930sPeking—one that plunges down the dark alleys of a murder mystery and into a murky underworld. Paul French’s rediscovery of long-hidden leads and witnesses has done justice to this extraordinary case.”

Paul Collins, author of The Murder of the Century

“The best true crime stories are tales of place as well as people, evoking the long shadows of our often haunted history. And 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

“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.”

Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel

"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


"Paul French has written a true-crime thriller, an atmospheric portrait of Peking on the eve of Japanese occupation and an expose of white mischief that kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last."

Linda Jaivin, Author of A Most Immoral Woman and The Monkey and the Dragon

"A brilliant book about Old Peking and an extraordinary time of disintegration and change that really captures the imagination. It evokes the city of divided zones and loyalties with a superb feeling for the characters who mingled in that nervous milieu. A chilling story told with forensic artistry that is utterly compelling."

Nicholas Jose, Author of Avenue of Eternal Peace and Original Face

"MIDNIGHT IN PEKING magically captures a strange, largely unknown time and place in modern history. It is not just a thrilling procedural. It is wise and compassionate and deeply human - an astonishing achievement."

Douglas Perry, Author of The Girls of Murder City

"…Paul brings the world he is exploring so vividly and grippingly to life."

James Bradley, Author of The Resurrectionist


"MIDNIGHT IN PEKING takes the reader back to 1937 and the brutal unsolved murder of an English schoolgirl in a city and a country on the edge of an abyss. Paul French wonderfully evokes that 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 and included in Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2003

"French is a talented story-teller, rolling out the plot step by step, to ensure that we must keep reading."

Mark O’Neill for the South China Morning Post

"A compelling mystery story set in a sweeping historical context full of persuasive detail and strongly drawn characters. Keeps the reader enthralled to the end."

Jonathan Fenby, Author of The Penguin History of Modern China