Sir Edmund Backhouse (1873-1944), baronet, linguist, author, translator, secret-agent, and perhaps the most extraordinary character living in 1930s Peking.
Decades after his death, Backhouse and his incredible frauds were exposed by the eminent British historian Sir Hugh Trevor-Roper in his book Hermit of Peking. The book excited much controversy, revered by many as Backhouse was. As a result, Trevor-Roper attracted a great deal of opprobrium.
Research for A Death in Peking revealed for the first time how, almost inevitably, the strange figure of Backhouse featured in the aftermath of the Pamela Werner murder - in his unique style. It also uncovered until now unknown 'secret intelligence' provided by the Baronet to the British government - material that went unseen by Trevor-Roper.