French, a business consultant whose previous books have covered historic Shanghai, North Korea and foreign journalists in China, was intrigued and began investigating the case. His book on Pamela, Midnight in Peking, is a fascinating tale of life and death in a city on the brink of all-out war, a world of corruption, hubris, brutality and madness. He paints a vivid picture of life in the Legation Quarter, the extraterritorial enclave where the city’s foreign residents lived under their own laws, and the luxurious clubs and hotel bars where they traded gossip between dances and whiskey sodas. Despite the rampant destruction of the old Peking, some of the city French describes survives today, including the Fox Tower, one of the last remaining sections of the city wall, and Armour Factory Alley, where Pamela lived with her father in a refurbished courtyard home. But much has been erased, including the Badlands, a district of dive bars and brothels carefully scrubbed from the maps of that era. French helps bring the Badlands back to life, full of gangsters and drunken soldiers, White Russian prostitutes and foreign criminals seeking to disappear without a trace.
Continued in Time.
- Foreigners do not learn from mistakes in China – Paul French (chinaherald.net)
- Midnight in Peking – review (chinaspeakersbureau.info)
- Paul French’ “Midnight in Peking” to become TV drama (chinaherald.net)
- Midnight in Peking Review (susanreviews.wordpress.com)
- Vandalism in Beijing – Paul French (chinaherald.net)