Midnight in Peking

  • by Paul French
  • Narrated by Erik Singer
  • 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Informative, but not awesome.

I tried to enjoy this book, but I just couldn't. I am interested in history in the broad sense, China in general, and Beijing in particular, and the book does tell a creepy, detailed story of the murder of a young English woman in 1930's Beijing, among the expatriate community. However, the author so doggedly sticks to the crime in question, and repeats the facts in an almost mercilessly literal way that there is little in the manner of context, or bigger picture. I wanted to stop the author and ask, "why are you telling this story?" That perspective was missing for me.

On the plus side - the book incidentally sheds some light on the Japanese invasion of China, which prompted me to look for books on that subject.
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- Sparkly "interested in history, science, and pulp fiction"

Old Murder Still Mysterious

Would you consider the audio edition of Midnight in Peking to be better than the print version?

Can't say definitively-haven't seen the print edition, but based on the intricacies of the true story, I think the audible version may be better because the reader has made the details lively, where in print they might just appear as a paghe full of names dates and numbers.

Who was your favorite character and why?

the author, because he was determined to unearth all the f acts and follow up all the forgotten or neglected old leads in hopes of solving the case so many years later. He vividly conveys the atmosphere of old China, is complexity and its many layers of superstition, rumor and European snobbishness.

Have you listened to any of Erik Singer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?


Any additional comments?

My interest in this book derives from once knowing Michael HorJelski, and hearing of the murder of his girl friend from him in l938 or '39, when he looked me up in New York City.He was, understandably, quite disturbed by this unsolved murder and I never forgot his story. His father was a close school friend of my father when they were both boys in Poland. I had met Michael's father when I was a little girl, when he came to visit us during a business trip from China.

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- Helen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-24-2012
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio