Skip to main content

Critical Praise

"Clue by clue, Paul French uncovers the truth of a bizarre murder case that shocked Peking in 1937. In doing so, he draws a chilling portrait of the city's decadent, violent and overly-privileged Euro-American expatriate community. It is a feat comparable to that of White Mischief. Fascinating and irresistible. I couldn't put it down."
    — John Berendt, author of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL

"Simply marvelous! An atmospheric who-done-it in which the setting is pre-communist China, incorporating the last tottering edges of the British empire, a cast of enigmatic foreigners, and Peking bracing as Japan invades and brings the last of Old China to its knees. The mysterious and seemingly motiveless killing of a young English girl by a spirit-haunted gate in Peking is much more than it appears."
— Margaret George, author of ELIZABETH I

"The best true crime stories are tales of place as well as people, evoking the long shadows of our often haunted history. And Paul French's book, MIDNIGHT IN PEKING, is among the best. As the mystery surrounding the bloody death of a young woman in pre-World War II Peking unfolds, French carries the reader on a journey through the city's twisting streets and equally twisted politics. The result is a real-life story ultimately as suspenseful as any modern thriller."
— Deborah Blum, author of THE POISONER'S HANDBOOK: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz-Age New York

"Paul French wonderfully evokes [the] place in that time and, amazingly, manages to bring some sense of closure to this long-forgotten mystery. This book is an instant true crime classic, which grips and hooks from the first page to the last."
    — David Peace, author of THE RED RIDING QUARTET

"MIDNIGHT IN PEKING magically captures a strange, largely unknown time and place in modern history. It is not just a thrilling procedural. It is wise and compassionate and deeply human --- an astonishing achievement."
— Douglas Perry, author of THE GIRLS OF MURDER CITY

"This book is captivating, a wild rickshaw ride into the lost world of 1930s Peking --- one that plunges down the dark alleys of a murder mystery and into a murky underworld. Paul French's rediscovery of long-hidden leads and witnesses has done justice to this extraordinary case."
    — Paul Collins, author of THE MURDER OF THE CENTURY

"Historian French unravels a long-forgotten 1937 murder in this fascinating look at Peking (now Beijing) on the brink of Japanese occupation. French painstakingly reconstructs the crime and depicts the suspects… compelling evidence is coupled with a keen grasp of Chinese history in French’s worthy account."
Publishers Weekly

"French provides a wealth of historical detail about a vanished era in interwar Peking… A well-composed, engaging, lurid tale."