One day in June 1931 the body of a young girl was found on a lonely beach in Long Island, New York. She was bruised and there were some signs that she had been raped. It was thought that she had been murdered. She was soon identified as Starr Faithfull, a nicely brought up girl from a good family, but the picture soon began to change. Starr was not what she seemed: she was sexually promiscuous, mentally unstable and, crucially, had been abused as a child by her guardian, a prominent Boston politician. A tabloid sensation in the 1930s, the story of Starr Faithfull is the basis of William Palmer's extraordinary new novel.