“A chronicler of China’s seedy past,” author Paul French is called in a raving review in The Atlantic. His latest book “Midnight in Peking” became a candidate for the Edgar Award in the “Best Fact Crime” category.
Paul French has a gleam in his eye. “I’ve done a lot of work on prostitutes in Shanghai,” he says. And then he laughs.
But the truth is that this Shanghai-based author has made himself into a one-man show chronicling the prostitutes, drug dealers, murderers, hermaphrodites, drunks, gang members and low-lifes of China’s pre-revolutionary days. Not to mention a few philandering hacks.
His most recent obsession started with the 1937 murder of 19-year-old Pamela Werner, the daughter of a prominent English counsel and scholar in Beijing. Pamela, it turned out, had a taste for the wild life, an urge all too readily indulged by a city that set apart its foreign quarter and looked the other way when the Russians, English, Americans, Germans, and French came to China to escape their past and live the kind of life that would land them in jail in other countries.
Tracing the story of Pamela’s murder, which French stumbled upon when he learned of a cache of documents left behind by Pamela’s father in trying to uncover his daughter’s murderer, led to his big hit, Midnight in Peking. The 2012 book landed on the New York Times bestseller list and is being made into a television series in England. It’s also a candidate for an Edgar Award in the “Best Fact Crime” category, given by the Mystery Writers of America. Midnight, says French, “has been far and away the most successful book I’ve done.”
China Weekly Hangout
Is China’s internet back to ‘normal’. That is the question the China Weekly Hangout will address on Thursday 25 April. In December we looking into the dreadful internet connections so many companies and individuals were suffering from, when even the VPN‘s came under attack. We hoped that would inprove after the power transfer to Xi Jinping and his crew would be completed. Has that happened, and how do people on the ground expect the internet will serve them?
Below our December 20, 2012 session with participation of +Sam Xu, +John R. Otto, +Gabriel Rüeck and +Fons Tuinstra; are the recent hiccups just tests? Has China a kill button for the internet and will it use it? Or will there be a two-class internet, one for corporate users, and one for home users?