The fascinating character Galeazzo Ciano (1903-1944) was Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini's son-in-law ... and Italian Consul in China during the early 1930s.
It was while Ciano was serving in China that he met and appointed the equally fascinating Doctor Ugo Cappuzzo to the role of Peking Embassy Doctor.
Cappuzzo went on to become one of ETC Werner's chief suspects in the murder of his daughter Pamela.
Ciano was born in Livorno, the son of an admiral and early follower of Mussolini. He married Mussolini's daughter, Edda, in 1930 and served in China until 1935.
Newly qualified as a doctor, the young Cappuzzo was travelling on honeymoon through China with his new wife when Ciano offered him the significant role of Embassy Doctor.
When Ciano returned to Rome, Cappuzzo stayed on, and was in Peking on the night Pamela was murdered in January 1937. His embassy house was close to her route home from the ice rink - something that did not go unnoticed by her father.
Meanwhile, Ciano, still in his early thirties, was promoted to Foreign Minister. He was very close to his father-in-law and played a important role in Italy's political path during the coming global conflict of WW2.
Ciano was a keen and observant diarist.
Right: Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini, & Ciano.
Ciano wrote in his diaries how he disliked and distrusted the Nazi regime and thought that Italy's association with Germany would lead the country to disaster. The feeling was mutual; the Nazis did not like him either.
Ciano, a pilot in the Italian air force, was also of the opinion that Italy's troops were not fit-for-purpose. Events proved him right.
The war went badly for Italy. In 1943 Ciano and other ministers 'betrayed' Mussolini. The dictator was toppled, only to be freed & reinstated by the Nazis. Ciano and the others were tried and sentenced to death.
His wife, Edda, managed to escape arrest with their three children. She tried bargaining for Ciano's life by letting it be known that she possessed his diaries and their embarrassing remarks.
It didn't help. Ciano and his fellow rebels were shot in January 1944.
Ciano's diaries later fell into the hands of the Allies. Subsequently published, they provide an interesting insight into the fractious and uneven nature of Italy's alliance with Nazi Germany.