Author(s): Thomas Harding
In June 2006, police were called to number 9 Downshire Hill in Hampstead to investigate reports of unusual card activity. The owner of the house, Allan Chappelow, was an award-winning photographer and biographer, an expert on George Bernard Shaw, and a notorious recluse, who had not been seen for several weeks. Inside they found piles of rubbish, trees growing through the floor, and, in what was once the living room, the body of Chappelow, battered to death, and buried under four-feet of page proofs. The man eventually convicted of his murder was a Chinese dissident named Wang Yam: the grandson of one of Mao's closest aides, and a key negotiator in the Tiananmen Square protests. His trial was the first in the UK to be held `in camera': behind closed doors, and without access to the press or public. Yam has always protested his innocence - admitting to the card fraud, but claiming no knowledge of the murder. Thomas has spent the past three months investigating the case and has unearthed some revelatory material. It's a story that has been described in the press and by the leading detective (now retired) as the `greatest whodunnit' of recent years: an extraordinary tale of isolation, deception, espionage and brutal violence, stretching from the quiet streets of north London to the Palace of Westminster and beyond.
"Meticulous and gripping - a thriller that disturbs for revelations about a singular act of murder, and the national security state which we call home." -- Philippe Sands, author of 'East West Street'
Thomas Harding is an author and journalist who has written for the Financial Times, the Sunday Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, among other publications. He co-founded a television station in Oxford, England, and for many years was an award-winning documentary maker. He also ran a local newspaper in West Virginia, winning the West Virginia Association of Justice's Journalist of the Year Award, before moving back to England in 2011, where he now lives with his family. He is the author of Hanns and Rudolf, a Sunday Times bestseller and winner of the JQ-Wingate Prize; the internationally acclaimed Kadian Journal: A Father's Story; and The House by the Lake, a Costa Biography Award and Orwell Prize nominee.