2023 Best Book Awards Winner in History sponsored by American Book Fest
In Murder in Manchuria, Scott D. Seligman explores an unsolved murder set amid the chaos that reigned in China in the run-up to World War II. The story unfolds against the backdrop of a three-country struggle for control of Manchuria—an area some called China’s “Wild East”—and an explosive mixture of nationalities, religions, and ideologies. Semyon Kaspé, a young Jewish musician, is kidnapped, tortured, and ultimately murdered by disaffected, antisemitic White Russians, secretly acting on the orders of Japanese military overlords who covet his father’s wealth. When local authorities deliberately slow-walk the search for the kidnappers, a young French diplomat takes over and launches his own investigation.
Part cold-case thriller and part social history, the true, tragic saga of Kaspé is told in the context of the larger, improbable story of the lives of the twenty thousand Jews who called Harbin home at the beginning of the twentieth century. Scott D. Seligman recounts the events that led to their arrival and their hasty exodus—and solves a crime that has puzzled historians for decades.
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