Jonathan Mirsky

Case Closed?

A Death in Peking: Who Really Killed Pamela Werner?


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In January 1937, the mutilated – no, butchered – body of Pamela Werner, a pretty, somewhat naive girl from Britain, was found in Peking, not far from the ice rink where she had been skating and the home she shared with her adoptive father. He, E T C Werner, a British expat, spent much of his life accusing at least three foreign men resident in Peking – two Americans (a dentist and a retired marine) and an Italian doctor – of raping and murdering her. It was a shattering scandal in China, where British and Chinese police investigated the circumstances of her death and the local papers made a meal of the horror. The murder has been reinvestigated several times over the years, and not long ago a widely read book, Midnight in Peking (which I reviewed in these pages in 2012), concluded that one of Werner’s suspects was indeed the murderer.

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