A brutal murder, a botched investigation, and a time Beijing would rather forget. Intrigued? So were we (along with the rest of the world) when author Paul French released Midnight in Peking.
Five years on, and an unwavering interest in the book prompted us to collaborate with publishers Penguin on a walking tour to bring the story back to life in modern-day Beijing. Little did we know that in researching the tour, Bespoke’s long term collaborator Lars Ulrik Thom would uncover a raft of never-before-seen documents relating to the case.
It’s therefore with great excitement that Bespoke presents The Official Midnight in Peking Walking Tour, featuring exclusive new material and insights into the scandalous death of a young woman in the dark days of Republic-era Peking.
For those who missed the hype, Midnight in Peking is the international bestseller telling the true story of the previously unsolved murder of British teenager Pamela Werner in January, 1937. On the eve of the Japanese invasion of the Chinese city, her horribly mutilated body was discovered at the foot of Beijing’s ‘Fox’ Tower.
The daughter of a retired diplomat and renowned Sinologist, her death shook the tight-knit foreign community to its core. When police investigations inevitably turned to the foreign pleasure dens selling opium and girls in Peking’s ‘Badlands’, the British authorities quickly closed ranks, allowing the culprit to escape into the maelstrom of World War II.
Led by historian Ulrik Thom and his team, this nighttime walking tour transports participants back in time to 1930s Peking. To the Badlands southeast of the Forbidden City where destitute White Russians, foreign expats and opium addicts lived debauched lives almost without consequence; to the street where Pamela lived with her eccentric father ETC Werner, the Fox Tower where her body was found, and even the tree-lined streets of the former Legation Quarter.
The cast of characters revealed by French in Midnight in Peking will also be revived once more – from Werner to DCI Dennis, Prentice to Pinfold – now seen from a different perspective thanks to the documents uncovered in the Archives.
Fascinating details woven into the narrative will put the era in context for history buffs, and quirky newspaper cuttings from the time shed further light on this strange time in Beijing’s history. One article from the period even claims that scientists planned to find Pamela’s murderer by extracting the last image burned onto her retina before she died…
The walk ends with an exhibition of the source material, historic maps and a cocktail at Capital M overlooking Tiananmen, and 10RMB from every ticket sold will go to a charity for exploited and abused women.
So what are you waiting for? Send us an email and get involved now so you don’t miss out!
Need to get your hands on a copy before coming on the walk? Get yourself to The Bookworm stat, where you’ll find a copy priced at 120RMB, or purchase it on your Kindle.
Four Limited Edition public tours will take place on April 23rd, April 24th, April 30th and May 1st 2016, with tickets priced at 388RMB per person. After this Limited Edition run of four public tour dates the experience will only be available as a private tour, with the price dependent on the number of participants. To book, email [email protected] for details. Tickets go on sale on April 1st 2016.