Last Updated on 2023/10/17
“Shanghai Demimondaine” is a new release by Nick Hordern, presented by Earnshaw Books. Set in the vibrant milieu of 1930s Shanghai, the book paints a portrait of a city that was well-known across Asia for its expansive prostitution trade. Central to the story is Lorraine Murray, an Australian who was a prominent figure in this industry. However, her association with her benefactor Edmund Toeg led her to make the pivotal choice to depart from her upscale brothel.
As Japan’s military aggression escalated in China, Lorraine connected with Emily Hahn, the distinguished ‘China Coast Correspondent for the New Yorker’. Under Emily’s mentorship, Lorraine transitioned away from her previous life. She later served as a counter-intelligence informant in wartime Australia and subsequently relocated to England, reuniting with Emily and Edmund. “Shanghai Demimondaine” details how Lorraine’s bond with Emily significantly impacted her life and also how Emily drew from their friendship for her acclaimed writings.
Nick Hordern graduated in history from the University of Sydney. He then worked with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, with roles in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He later shifted to politics in Canberra. His career in journalism began at the Australian Financial Review, dedicating fifteen years in varied capacities, including the position of Senior Writer. By 2013, he decided to prioritize writing. Among his noteworthy contributions are the historical texts “Sydney Noir: The Golden Years” and “World War Noir: Sydney’s Unpatriotic War”, co-written with Michael Duffy.