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An instant true crime classic: the 1937 murder of an Englishwoman in Old Peking finally solved
How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman
Haunted the Last Days of Old China

Paul French

“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.”

Publishers Weekly

“In this deft reconstruction of events from newspaper and police reports, diaries and archives, French masterly portrays the graft-ridden milieu of pre–World War II China, where the arrogance of foreigners prevailed…

A well-composed, engaging, lurid tale.”

Kirkus Reviews

“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-Americ 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


This spring, Penguin Books will chart new territory as we publish our very first Penguin Hardcover Original: MIDNIGHT IN PEKING: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China (On-sale: April 24, 2012) by Paul French, an absolutely riveting true crime story that has already captivated readers around the globe. French, a historian andChina expert, has opened the books on a seventy-five-year-old unsolved murder and offers a glimpse into the last days of Colonial Peking.

Peking, January 1937. In the frigidwinter air, the ancient Fox Tower—rumored to be home to the seductive fox spirits who steal men’s souls—keeps silent watch. The morning after Russian Orthodox Christmas celebrations, the city awakens to a hangover—and a murder. The mutilated body of British schoolgirl Pamela Werner is found at the base of the Fox Tower, on the edge of the Badlands. A shiver of fear andshock ripples through Peking. With the Japanese already in Manchuria and encircling Peking, the city is on high alert. As soon as Pamela’s body is found, the search for her murderer begins.

Chinese detective Han and visiting British detective Dennis team up to solve the case, battling time and the meddling of their respective bureaucracies. Dennis, a former Scotland Yardman, attempts to recreate Pamela’s lastdays through combing through herdiary and questioning her friends. A puzzling picture emerges of a girl who was sometimes a studious schoolgirl and other times a girl on the cusp of womanhood.

Han and Dennis’s investigation pulls them deep intoPeking’s seedy underworld of crime,drugs, and prostitution. As the weeks progress and they get no closer to finding the killer, they are pressured to close the case by their superiors, the press, andthe public. Dennis returns toShanghaiandHan closes the official investigation. Unsatisfied, Pamela’s father, ETC Werner, takes up the search for justice. What he uncovers is even more devious that Han and Dennis had suspected. Though no justice is served, the remainder of Werner’s life is consumed with the investigation into his daughter’s murder.

Almost seventy-five years after the murder of Pamela Werner, Paul French finally gives the case the resolution it was denied at the time and in the tradition of the true crime classics White Mischief and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, MIDNIGHT IN PEKING transforms a front page murder into an absorbing and emotional exposé, bringing the lastdays of old Peking to life.


Historian Paul French lives in Shanghai, where he is a business advisor andanalyst. He frequently comments on Chinafor the English-speaking press aroundthe world. He studiedhistory, economics, and Mandarin at university and has an M. Phil in economics from the Universityof Glasgow. He the author of a number of books, including 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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 MIDNIGHT IN PEKING ▪ Paul French ▪ Penguin Books Hardcover Original
$26.00 ▪ On-sale date: April 24, 2012 ▪ ISBN: 978-0-14-312100-8
Also available as an e-book

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S.member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group.  Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S.adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Philomel, Riverhead Books and Viking, among others. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.