This Week in History: Pamela Werner Murdered in Old Peking

By Paul French, January 10, 2022

0 0

On the frozen night of January 8, 1937, in the dying days of colonial Peking, a body was found in the shadow of The Fox Tower, long believed to be haunted by evil spirits. It was that of Pamela Werner, the teenage daughter of the city's former British consul, Edward Werner. Her heart had been removed.

A horrified world followed the hunt for Pamela's killer, with a Chinese-British detective team pursuing suspects, including a blood-soaked rickshaw puller, the Triads and a lascivious grammar school headmaster. But the case was soon forgotten amid the carnage of the Japanese invasion... by all but Edward Werner.

With a network of private investigators and informers, he followed the trail deep into Peking's notorious Badlands and back to the gilded hotels of the colonial Quarter.


Some 75 years later, deep in the Scotland Yard archives, British historian Paul French accidentally came across the lost case file prepared by Edward Werner. French resolved to get to the bottom of the crime, unveiling an undercover sex cult, heroin addicts and disappearing brothels in the process – in a case that turned out to be more disturbing than anyone could imagine.

The resulting book was 2013 New York Times best seller Midnight in Peking, not just the unputdownable story of the savage murder, but a sweepingly evocative account of the end of the Old Peking era.

For more great content, check out That's Mags monthly print and digital publication. 


For more history stories, click here.

For more on Paul French, click here.

To buy Paul French’s Midnight in Peking click here or scan the QR code:


more news

More of Beijing To Be Put Under Stricter COVID Measures

Fengtai district has recently seen most of the new locally transmitted cases.

Beijing Surpasses 1,000 Total Cases in Current COVID Outbreak

Beijing continues to battle an outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Beijing Close to 1,000 Total Cases in Current COVID Outbreak

Beijing has recorded 979 total cases of COVID-19 in the latest outbreak.

What Was All That Panic Buying About in Beijing Yesterday?

A false alarm regarding a 3-day "silent period" led many Beijing residents to stock up on essentials.

Beijing to Stop Waimai Delivery?... No

Waimai and other delivery services will continue to operate in Beijing.

Beijing COVID-19 Numbers Surpass 2020 Outbreak

The latest numbers were announced at the city's daily COVID-19 Press Conference.

UPDATE: More Beijing Subway Stations Closed Due to COVID-19

Beijing continues to battle an outbreak of the omicron variant.

These Beijing Parks are Closed Due to COVID-19

The closures are part of Beijing's ongoing battle against the latest outbreak of COVID-19.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsBeijing for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Beijing With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Beijing!

Visit the archives