Sources, in detail
The following documents are provided as a resource for readers of Midnight in Peking, and the editors of Penguin, as throughout the book 'the details were often wrong. Even simple facts were altered'. More corrections will be uploaded in due course.
These are Strange Tales Anthony Abbot
Teas, dances, dinner parties, concerts...
In his source notes for Midnight, French five times cites Anthony Abbot’s 1948 These Are Strange Tales. Anthony Abbot was the pen name of Fulton Oursler (1893-1952), who, after converting to Catholicism, achieved world fame with his popularization of the Bible, The Greatest Story Ever Told.
These Are Strange Tales is a collection of true crime stories, originally magazine articles. The article on the Werner murder – 16 pages in the book - originally appeared in True Police Cases. Oursler was in Shanghai in April 1937. During the course of an interview, the Chief of the Shanghai Municipal Police (of the International Settlement) alerted him to the Werner murder. Oursler learned more about the murder “from newspaper men, over mugs of beer in Blood Alley” and from “old China hands at the long bar of the Shanghai Club.” He later “busied myself in reading some clippings on the case, given to me earlier that night by barroom companions.” That was enough for a magazine article.
Oursler never went to Peking, and never spoke with anyone with firsthand knowledge of the case. He gets significant details wrong. In his account, Werner is over 80, and it was he who discovered the body while roaming Peking. Not surprisingly, his romanization of Chinese is badly garbled.
Quoted with permission of Eric Politzer, New York.
Compare this fictional account of Pamela and her father's activities, with that reported in the North China Herald. Midnight in Peking has chosen to represent the above as the factual account of Pamela's last words.
These are Strange Tales: murderer theory
Despite These are Strange Tales being used as a "reliable" source by Midnight in Peking, the author does not use this theory of Pamela's murder in his reconstruction.