“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Murders of Old China – An Audible Original

Posted: January 6th, 2020 | No Comments »

Just realised that I post about this everywhere but on my blog!! I spent a goodly portion of last year researching, writing and then recording this special commissioned project for Audible. It’s 12 murder cases in China between the early 1900s and the eve of the 1949 revolution. I’ve gone back and reinvestigated them all with some rather surprising new information…

Murders of Old China is an Audible Original – commissioned by them exclusively for Audible. You can buy it, but, if you’re a subscriber then you can use a credit to listen…and it’s narrated by me!!

Paul French (Midnight in Peking, City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir) dives into fifty years of murder and true crime across China and Hong Kong from the start of the twentieth century in this new Audible Original narrative non-fiction Murders of Old China. Drawing on two and a half decades of research, French explores a dozen gripping murder cases, taking listeners from warlord-wracked Beijing, through the mighty international city of Shanghai and on to the remote and bandit-infested hinterlands of the Tibetan border and Inner Mongolia.

Using new documentation, cross-referencing and what French calls ‘sleuthing by hindsight’, Murders of Old China takes a fresh look at these twelve cases, whisking listeners on a journey through the dangerous underbelly of old China and uncovering more of the country’s unique history.

Each true crime case offers new insights into the foreign community in China in the last days of the dying Qing Dynasty and the first decades of the Chinese Republic, shining a light on racial tensions and the criminal underworld, and querying the extent to which foreigners exploited the turmoil of the time. With a backdrop of war, imperialism and revolution, these stories provide an incredible insight into how modern China was formed, and the dark realities behind much of its recent past.

Narrated by French, and written in the style of the “American Noir” exemplified by Capote’s In Cold Blood, Murders of Old China is a must for fans of true crime, and those keen to learn more about China’s fascinating history.

Paul French was born in London and moved to Shanghai after studying Chinese. Paul spent nearly twenty years living and working in China, splitting time between Shanghai and Beijing. During this time, he worked as a journalist and book reviewer for a number of publications, researching the early twentieth century history of both cities, particularly the foreign communities that lived there.

French is known for his true crime literary non-fiction set in twentieth century China. His book Midnight in Peking was a New York Times bestseller, and won a number of prestigious awards including the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction and the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. Paul’s second literary non-fiction book City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir was a Kirkus Book of the Year.

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