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From rags to ill-gotten riches

Just how much of this notorious reputation is historical fact and how much is Hollywood (or neocolonialist) fantasy is hard to say, and "City of Devils," shows signs of being exhaustively researched

Gary Krist | NYT 

CITY OF DEVILS The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai Paul French Picador 299 pages; $28 Shanghai in the 1930s. Anyone familiar with detective novels or noir cinema knows exactly what that phrase means: Smoke-filled nightclubs, back-alley gambling houses and dark, seedy opium dens, all frequented by a motley assortment of Chinese mobsters, White Russian émigrés, fugitive criminals of all nations and at least one gorgeous femme fatale with a past. Designated an international treaty port after the 19th-century Opium Wars, Shanghai eventually ...

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First Published: Sun, August 05 2018. 22:59 IST
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