Paul Pessolano's Reviews > Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China

Midnight in Peking by Paul French
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Apr 22, 12

Read from April 20 to 22, 2012

“Midnight in Peking” by Paul French, published by Penguin Books.

Category – True Crime

This is an excellent look at true crime and a way of life that has ceased and will never be seen again. It is amazing that Paul French was able to go back and reconstruct this story that takes place in Peking, China in 1937. When reading this book it is imperative that the reader be aware of the political situation at the time and the mindset of the different cultures involved.

Pamela Werner was a beautiful young woman of nineteen. She was adopted by E.T.C. Werner and his wife. Werner had lived almost his entire life in China and not only knew the language but just about all the different dialects, he was also the most knowledgeable person concerning the culture and myths of the Chinese. Most foreigners, British, American, French, and Italian, all lived in the Legation Quarter and lived in virtual luxury. They had their own shops, nightclubs, theatres, etc.. They seldom ventured out beyond this enclosure. The Werner’s lived outside the Legation, and one night Pamela failed to come home. The next morning a young woman’s body was found mutilated, and it was identified as Pamela. An investigation was held by Colonel Han and Detective Dennis. The investigation was hampered in many ways by the strict codes of both the Chinese and British. After months of frustration the case of Pamela’s murder was closed. Her father, Edward Werner, took it upon himself to investigate his daughter’s murder and to look and inquire where the police could not.
Werner was able to solve his daughter’s murder, although no action would or could be taken.

Paul French brings this story to life by putting together all the pieces that made up this story. A story well told that brings together a brutal murder and the last days of colonial Peking.

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