Blood on the Page

Blood on the Page

WINNER of the 2018 Gold Dagger Award for Non-Fiction



'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

A groundbreaking examination of a terrifying murder and its aftermath by the bestselling author of Hanns and Rudolf and The House by the Lake.

On 14 June 2006, police were called to 9 Downshire Hill in Hampstead. The owner, Allan Chappelow, was a writer and notorious recluse who had not been seen for several weeks. Inside the darkened house, officers found piles of rubbish, trees growing through the floor, and the body of Chappelow, battered to death, partially burned and buried under four feet of paper.

The man eventually arrested on suspicion of his murder was a Chinese dissident named Wang Yam, who claimed to be the grandson of one of Mao’s closest aides. His trial was the first in modern British history to be held ‘in camera’: closed, carefully controlled, secret. Wang Yam was found guilty, but has always protested his innocence.

Did Wang Yam do it? Or was he framed for a crime he didn't commit?

When everything is hidden, how do we know what's really true?

'An In Cold Blood for our time – a brilliant and unflinching anatomy of a murder that is both brutal true crime and heartbreaking human tragedy' Tony Parsons

'A fine and fascinating read, bolstered by exemplary research and nuanced insights.' Observer

‘A real-life procedural... which might have important implications for us all.’ Guardian

'Reads like a thriller... a rigorous investigation... a revealing piece of social history.' Sunday Times

'Detailed, painstaking and fascinating.' Evening Standard


  • 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'

About the author

Thomas Harding

Thomas Harding is a bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than 16 languages. He has written for the Sunday Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, among other publications. He is the bestselling author of HANNS AND RUDOLF, which won the JQ-Wingate Prize for Non-Fiction; THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE, which was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award; BLOOD ON THE PAGE, which won the Crime Writers' Association "Golden Dagger Award for Non-Fiction" and FUTURE HISTORY, which was shortlisted for the German Children's Literature Award 2021. His next book, WHITE DEBT, was published in January 2022. You can follow Thomas on twitter @thomasharding
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