|Pamela Werner, 19, was found murdered in China in 1937. (Supplied)
On a January morning in 1937, the body of a young Englishwoman is found in Peking.
Her murder - during the last days of Old China - was never solved.
But now, evidence uncovered by a dogged historian - following a path of detective-work cleared by the young girl's father -- may have finally made the case against those who butchered the schoolgirl.
And among the key figures is a rogue Canadian with blood on his knife.
When an old Chinese gentleman found the mutilated body of teenager Pamela Werner seventy-five years ago, it was early morning under Peking's ancient Fox Tower -- a place locals said spirits could steal your soul.
The remains of the schoolgirl -- a 19-year-old daughter of a British scholar -- rested uncomfortably at the edge of a shady part of town called the Badlands. There, opium dens and brothels were the real soul thieves.
In many ways, Pamela bridged the gap between colonial Peking and the hard underbelly of the ancient city.
The killing of the blond and grey-eyed foreigner -- an 'laowai' to locals -- was just another thing to fear.
Outside, Japanese forces were circling.
Life for everyone in Peking was changing fast.
Which meant answers to who killed Pamela -- crushed her skull, sliced at her legs and cut her heart and organs from her body -- would have to be found quickly.
The murder investigation to follow was unprecedented -- a joint taskforce led by a Chinese detective and a visiting British cop.
They combed through every line in her diary. They tried turning Peking upside down -- from the gilded homes of the westerners to the filthy alleys of the Badlands.
What they came away with -- as well as meddling by Chinese and British brass -- was a picture of a shy schoolgirl who was maturing into a confident woman.
But the face of her killer was never revealed, and the investigation ended -- which is just how British officials wanted it.
But at least one man wouldn't have it that way.
Pamela's father, ETC Werner, sanctioned his own investigation, and uncovered a possible conspiracy of prostitution and murder.
His theory was compelling, but it led nowhere officially.
Today, there is no direct bloodline back to Pamela.
But historian Paul French has gone back to take up her father's cause -- finding and dusting off Werner's files.
French's newly released book, Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China, names a respected ex-pat American dentist, Wentworth Prentice, and a shadowy Canadian named Pinfold, as leading suspects.
Pinfold had been brought in for questioning, after his landlady found a bloodstained dagger in his room. While he refused to answer questions, he was released after it was discovered he often went hunting -- including with dentist Prentice.
But the thought westerners could have been behind the murder didn't sit well with officials.
Pamela's father -- and author French -- suspects the young girl was invited to a party in a brothel, only to face a group of white men who attacked her.
She resisted. And died.
Little is known about the Canadian in that room.
He may have been a soldier on the run.
"It was also thought that he might have acted as a mercenary in China working for a northern warlord in Peking," French explains. "Either way he worked hard to stay under the radar."
While officials took the blood found in Pinfold's room seriously, science at the time couldn't match it Pamela.
"The fact was that there simply wasn't enough hard evidence to arrest him," says French.
"I'm not sure it matters that much who struck the fatal blow. All the men in that room that evening at the No.28 Chuanpan Hutong brothel were guilty by association."
No one knows what happened to Pinfold, though Prentice died in Peking after the war. So if they were guilty, they got away with it.
For the historian, who followed the path started by a mournful father, the end can only lead to one place beyond the Fox Tower.
"The justice for Pamela," French says, "is in remembrance."