Snippets from books

This is one of those books I read in one sitting.

John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil writes “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.”

From the book:

Edward Theodore Chalmers Werner and his daughter lived in a traditional Chinese courtyard house on a hutong in Peking’s Tartar City, just outside the Legation Quarter. No one watching them go about their lives at the start of 1937 would have gained the impression that China was tottering on the edge of a precipice. Their daily routine appeared comfortable and privileged, based more around English than Chinese traditions even though Werner, a widower had chosen to avoid the overtly European world of the Legation Quarter.

In a city with plenty of old China hands, Werner was perhaps the most notable, having lived and worked in China since the 1880s. As a scholar and a former British consul, his life story was well known. His books were widely read and translated, his complex but highly regarded lectures to the Royal Asiatic Society and the Things Chinese Society well attended. He also wrote articles on Chinese culture, tradition and history for the local newspapers, and his experience and learning might have made him a much-sought-after dinner guest. But he rarely, if ever, accepted, preferring a solitary and scholarly life.

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