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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.
©2012 Paul French (P)2012 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Helen on 06-05-12

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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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jeremy on 01-04-13

When history can be stranger than fiction

This book is the bizarre child of a history textbook and a police thriller. It starts as a detailed historical description of Peking just before WWII and then begins focusing on the more specific event of the ferocious murder of a young white woman, of the likes history has never seen before. In an unusual way of narration, the book meticulously progresses from the facts of the investigation, through the various players that participate to it and the facts that they uncover. The facts themselves seemed to have been drawn from the imagination of a fiction novelist but they are all true, but, at the same time, the book reads like a history book without any of the experiential narration that comes with novels.

To be honest, I would have preferred that the dramatization be more novel-like and the style can get dry and boring at times. The problem with the historical narration is that the author is extremely distant to what is happening and most of the psychological angle is entirely lost. But the research, and the facts themselves are, on their own, enough to capture the imagination.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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