Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China by Paul French - review by Jonathan Mirsky

Jonathan Mirsky

Death beneath Fox Tower

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

By

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At last! A thriller-diller that thrills. A whodunnit that puzzles. And it’s true, too. After over seventeen years in China, Paul French can fairly be called an old China hand. Although he lives in Shanghai, he knows Peking – now Beijing – and its sometimes dark history, and has a style worthy of Raymond Chandler: he uses ‘muscle’ for bodyguards in just the right way. And in his extensive research French, almost by luck – but luck favours the keen – uncovered a real-life septuagenarian sleuth who out-Holmesed Holmes.

No murder could have been gorier. One north China winter morning in January 1937 a young Western woman’s body is discovered near Peking’s Fox Tower, feared by many Chinese as a place of evil spirits. She has been bludgeoned, cut and scratched. Even the senior investigators, a British, Scotland Yard-trained

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