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Midnight in Peking

The unputdownable true story of a murder that will make you hold your loved ones close, and also a sweepingly evocative account of the end of an era.


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SKU: 9780143567523 Category:

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January, 1937: Peking is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, lavish cocktail bars and opium dens, warlords and corruption, rumours and superstition – and the clock is ticking down on all of it.

In the exclusive Legation Quarter, the foreigners are jumpy. Japanese troops are poised to attack, and word has it the Chinese government is about to cut a deal with Tokyo, leaving Peking to its fate. Fear reigns inside the ancient city walls, on one of which, not far from the nefarious Badlands, is a massive watchtower. Locals believe it to be haunted by fox spirits that prey upon innocent mortals.

Then one bitterly cold night, the body of an innocent mortal is dumped there. It belongs to the daughter of a former British consul, and when the details of her death become known, people find it hard to credit that any human could treat another in such a fashion.  Even as the Japanese noose on the city tightens, this bizarre murder transfixes the people of Peking.

Seventy-five years after these events, Paul French finally gives the case the resolution it was denied, in a story that will make you hold your loves ones close.

Midnight in Peking has won the 2013 CWA Dagger Award for Non-Fiction.

'An instant true crime classic which grips and hooks from the first page to the last.' David Peace, author of The Damned Utd

'Unputdownable . . . French's re-creation of the police investigation will have you enthralled.' Sydney Morning Herald

'A brilliantly evocative book.' The Sunday Age

Book Title

Midnight in Peking


Penguin Books




True Stories




198mm x 130mm

Date Published

April 2012



Weight0.285 kg


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