Midnight in Peking by Paul French audiobook

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

By Paul French
Read by Erik Singer

Penguin Audio
8.23 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
  • $17.50
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    ISBN: 9781101564431

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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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Summary

Summary

A New York Times bestseller

A USA Today bestseller

Winner of the 2013 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Fact Crime

A 2013 Macavity Award Nominee for Best Mystery Nonfiction

Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

A 2012 Washington Post Best Book for Nonfiction

A 2012 eMusic Best Audiobook of the Year

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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

…the most talked-about read in town this year. The New Yorker’s Page-Turner Blog
A page-turning and fascinating true crime book. This is a genre-breaker that captures the atmosphere of 1930s Peking. The Bookseller [selected as One to Watch]
A crime story set among sweeping events is reminiscent of Graham Greene, particularly The Third Man, while French's terse, tightly-focussed style has rightly been compared to Chandler. Midnight in Peking deserves a place alongside both these masters. The Independent
Midnight in Peking is both a detective story and a social history, and therefore – as it should – always keeps the hunt for Pamela’s killers somewhere near the center of the narrative. [Paul French] is a wonderfully dexterous guide Jonathan Spence in The New York Review of Books
Midnight in Peking is true-crime writing at its best, full of vivid characters, an exotic locale, secrets galore, and a truly bewildering mystery. The Christian Science Monitor
…A compulsively readable true crime work in the tradition of Devil in the White City. The Atlantic.com
Part historical docudrama, part tragic opera… [French] tells this sorry tale with the skill of an Agatha Christie. The Financial Times
In today’s Beijing, French’s portrait feels surprisingly germane. The Los Angeles Times
An engrossing read Oprah.com
Not only does Mr. French succeed in solving the crime, he resurrects a period that was filled with glitter as well as evil, but was never, as readers will appreciate, known for being dull. The Economist
Never less than fascinating… one of the best portraits of between-the-wars China that has yet been written. The Wall Street Journal
This is a good murder story, well told, with all the additional pleasures that a knowledgeable tour guide to old China can provide. Grateful readers could scarcely ask for more. Joseph Kanon, author of Istanbul Passage, in The Washington Post
“[A] fascinating thriller/true-crime story…There’s an unexpected pleasure that comes from knowing that after all these years, the truth has finally come to light.” O, The Oprah Magazine
“A fascinating tale of life and death in a city on the brink of all-out war, a world of corruption, hubris, brutality, and madness…A deeply engrossing tale that offers fresh insights into pre-war Peking and a measure of justice for a young woman whose life was cut tragically short.” Time
“Engrossing…French’s account is never less than fascinating, and it is delivered at the unflagging pace of a rickshaw man’s fast trot…One of the best portraits of between-the-wars China that has yet been written.” Wall Street Journal
“Part historical docudrama, part tragic opera…[French] tells this sorry tale with the skill of an Agatha Christie.” Financial Times
“Not only does Mr. French succeed in solving the crime, he resurrects a period that was filled with glitter as well as evil, but was never, as readers will appreciate, known for being dull.” Economist
“Fascinating…French painstakingly reconstructs the crime and depicts the suspects—using Werner’s own independent research,  conducted after authorities refused to reopen his daughter’s case. Compelling evidence is coupled with a keen grasp of Chinese history in French’s worthy account.” Publishers Weekly
“Singer’s performance is evocative as he transports listeners to the setting of Old China, with its privileged expatriate community and its dignified legations, and its vice-ridden Badlands, rife with prostitution and opium dens…Singer allows the material to speak for itself, moving the story forward seamlessly and shedding light on a China of times past.” AudioFile
“French’s narrative keeps the reader tightly gripped by and emotionally involved with the dead daughter and her obstreperous but determined father, who, after officials closed the case unsolved, pressed for the truth in his own remarkable inquiry. A fine true-crime narrative with crossover appeal to mystery mavens.” Booklist
“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. As he slowly unravels the clues, he reveals a crime more shocking than anyone had ever imagined. This is a difficult book to put down!” Library Journal
“French provides a wealth of historical detail about a vanished era in interwar Peking. A well-composed, engaging, lurid tale.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

by Marianne 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

A thriller that just happens to be true

Everyone loves a pulse-pounding thriller. A mysterious crime, a killer on the loose, an exciting chase to discover the truth—these stories make us feel fully alive. But what the thriller was actually true? Midnight in Peking recounts the gruesome murder of a young British foreigner, Pamela Werner. It’s 1937 in Peking, an opulent and superstitious place full of opium dens and close European neighborhoods. The China of the 1930s is divided and struggling—and fear of a Japanese invasion seems to literally hang in the air. Two detectives are assigned to the case—on foreign and one Chinese—and their hunt for the truth takes the listener on a terrifying, fascinating journey in to a country on the brink of chaos. Though locations and maps become a bit fuzzy while listening to the story (as opposed to reading), Erik Singer’s narration is captivating and the story will leave you transfixed from beginning to end. Perfect for crime junkies and history buffs alike.

Author

Author Bio: Paul French

Author Bio: Paul French

Paul French lives in Shanghai, where he is a business adviser and analyst. He frequently comments on China for the English-speaking press around the world. He studied history, economics, and Mandarin while attending university and has a Master Philosophy in economics from the University of Glasgow.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Runtime: 8.23
Audience: Adult
Language: English