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

Extended Audio Sample Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China, by Paul French Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,631 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul French Narrator: Erik Singer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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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Quotes & Awards

  • “[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.”


  • “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.”


  • “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.”


  • “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.”


  • “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

  • A 2012 Washington Post Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2012 eMusic Best Audiobook of the Year
  • 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

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Rosanne Friedlander | 1/29/2014

    " Poor girl. Book had interesting history but didn't really hold my attention enough to give 4 stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Emily Klein | 1/6/2014

    " Although this reads more like a detective novel than history it paints a rich picture of Peking before ww ii (a time and place I knew little about). Couldn't put it down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jacqueline | 1/6/2014

    " A good book for people who enjoy true crime cases. This one took place in 1937. A godd read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Christine | 1/5/2014

    " Not your typical true crime thriller. Incredible story since it is true and history of Peking very interesting. "

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