Harbin Mystery series

I strive to be as historically accurate as possible in my fiction books, and I like to share my love of history with others. So, for those who are interested, this space is reserved for reviewing some of the many reference materials I have employed in the research for my books. 
I3/6/23 - A great source of interesting articles that illuminate the perspective of the Japanese on their experiment of Manchukuo is the journal "Contemporary Manchuria", published by the South Manchurian Railroad. It is a blatant propaganda mouthpiece for the Japanese authorities, but also details many of the cultural and administrative features of Manchuria. But it is also packed with a lot of dry statistical data of industrial and agricultural "progress" of the new state. It was published either bimonthly or quarterly from April 1937 until January 1941. They are primarily available only through online rare book outlets. I have been lucky enough to secure several of the English language editions.  

1/15/23 - Another valuable resource is definitely for the die-hard history researcher -"Japanese Techniques of Occupation: Key Laws and Official Documents: Volume II, Manchukuo" published by the U.S. Board of Economic Warfare Reoccupation Division in June 1943. It is interesting to see how official regulations painted a veneer of legitimacy to Japan's puppet rule vs the hard reality faced by its subjects. It is divided into subject areas: Government, Legal, Finance, etc. The complete volume 2 is available as a reprint by Pranava Books of India. 

2/18/22 -Another must-read book if you want to learn about Manchuria is, of course, Owen Lattimore's "Manchuria: Cradle of Conflict". Ignore the political controversy around this eminent historian and social anthropologist and enjoy the depth and detail to which he describes the various social and ethnic elements of Manchuria and their interplay that defined this fascinating region in the 20th century. Also great maps!

October 2022 -
If you would like to learn more about the state of Harbin China in 1929 then an incredible source is "The 1929 Sino-Soviet War, The War Nobody Knew" by Michael M. Walker. It is a stand-out academic study of the border war and Red terror that happened in and around Harbin. It also goes into great detail on the background and dynamics of the period and locale of Manchuria. 

Book 1 was first place winner of the 2021 North Street Book Prize for Genre Fiction and in the Top 25 Best New Indie books of 2022 by Readfreely

book 1!

Special District:Harbin, Drawing the Tiger’s Bones

1929: Borya is at the bottom ranks of Harbin's Special District police force. His meager salary is the only thing that keeps his widowed mother and sisters fed. When fate takes him from chasing pickpockets to pairing him with one of the force's premier detectives, his life changes forever. They are assigned to investigate the dismembered body of one the city's foreign businessmen uncovered in the nearby Japanese zone.

The trail takes them from the upscale boulevards of Harbin’s New Town, to the seediest neighborhoods of the lower city, and beyond to the frontiers of Manchuria. Slowly they are drawn into a potential war with the Soviet Union that could tear apart the whole balance of life as they know it…

Can Borya and Inspector Chinn stay alive long enough to solve the crime?


“Special District: Harbin, Drawing the Tiger’s Bones is an International Mystery & Crime/noir detective novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat. If you like fast-paced stories that keep you surprised with every turn of the page, then you will definitely love this book…”

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A view into the politics and tensions presnt in 1929 Harbin China.

A look into the diverse cultures that made Harbin a unique cosmopolitan city in the 20th century.

Uncover the threat of the Red Terror of the Soviet Union as it encroaches upon this region of China, directly conflicting with the investigation of the detectives.

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about the author

Hi, I’m Tim

I’ve been a lifelong student of history and hold a BA in History from the University of Washington. I found in writing historical fiction a way to share my love of history with others. It also allows one to become immersed into the past in ways that non-fiction cannot.

I have been particularly drawn to the region of Manchuria. In the Twentieth Century it was fought over by the Russians, Chinese, Japanese, and Western powers. The city of Harbin was a microcosm of that struggle where White Russian refugees and Soviet intrigues vied with rising Chinese nationalism for control. Reading stories of survival from those tumultuous and divisive times helped me to put our own current state of politics into perspective.

So naturally my first book of a murder mystery series takes place in 1929 in that crossroad city of Harbin. Because the historical aspect of my story-telling is important to me, I strive to be as accurate to the real past as possible. That includes research of available academic books and articles on Manchuria and Harbin, and even acquiring travel guides, magazines, and maps from the time period.