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Jeremy

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new york, NY, United States | Member Since 2010

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

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Paul French
    • Narrated By Erik Singer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (147)

    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? 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.

    Jeremy says: "When history can be stranger than fiction"
    "When history can be stranger than fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is the bizarre child of a history textbook and a police thriller. It starts as a detailed historical description of Peking just before WWII and then begins focusing on the more specific event of the ferocious murder of a young white woman, of the likes history has never seen before. In an unusual way of narration, the book meticulously progresses from the facts of the investigation, through the various players that participate to it and the facts that they uncover. The facts themselves seemed to have been drawn from the imagination of a fiction novelist but they are all true, but, at the same time, the book reads like a history book without any of the experiential narration that comes with novels.

    To be honest, I would have preferred that the dramatization be more novel-like and the style can get dry and boring at times. The problem with the historical narration is that the author is extremely distant to what is happening and most of the psychological angle is entirely lost. But the research, and the facts themselves are, on their own, enough to capture the imagination.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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