Eric Liddell (1902-1945) was a Scottish Olympic Champion, winning 400m gold in Paris in 1924 (a story made famous through the 1981 Oscar-winning film "Chariots of Fire"). Liddell then became a China missionary, teaching pupils at Pamela's school, the "TGS" in Tientsin. He had a gift for relating to young people.
But A Death in Peking also reveals for the first time how Liddell's connection with Pamela went closer still. Just prior to her death, Pamela lived with his wife's family. Family gatherings with Liddell were a regular feature.
During the war Liddell was imprisoned by the Japanese at Weihsien internment camp, a custody he shared with not only with Pamela's father, E.T.C. Werner, but also with two of Werner's murder suspects, American dentist Wentworth Prentice, and former US Marine Fred Knauf.
Loved and admired by all, Liddell died of a brain tumour in the camp in 1945, leaving fellow internees stunned by his loss.
Eric Liddell's Olympic success was immortalised by the 1981 film, Chariots of Fire. Liddell (played by Ian Charleson) explained to his missionary sister, worried by the distraction of the Olympics, how he believed God had made him for China, but he had also made him fast!