The Forgotten Murder of a Schoolgirl in Midnight in Peking

Midnight in PekingIt’s 1937 and a parent’s worst nightmare comes true in Peking when the mutilated body of a British teenager, Pamela Werner, is found. The city is already on edge as Japan prepares to take over. Peking has also been in decline and has become a mix of refugees, brothels, opium dens, and the last of the foreigners and diplomats. Scandal and corruption is rampant.

Both a British and a Chinese Detective would work on the case, but there were restrictions. The murder of Pamela did not change the reality of politics as the British Legation worried about any involvement with the case and possible bad publicity. Then there was the seedier side of the city that could easily be influenced by bribes and threats.

Pamela’s father was not deterred by the Japanese, the diplomats, or Peking’s underworld. Using his life savings he began his own investigation. Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China by Paul French examines the evidence from both the detectives and Pamela’s father and finally brings to light the truth behind her tragic murder.


Christina Callison has been blogging about books for the library’s website since 2006. She has read hundreds of books that include mysteries, fantasies, horror, thrillers, non-fiction, general fiction, and some science fiction. She continues with her goal of finding new books and authors to recommend.