An incredible true story of murder in a utopian community established on a remote Galápagos island by European refugees, and the American industrialist who became embroiled in the investigation—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park.

At the height of the Great Depression, Los Angeles oil mogul George Allan Hancock and his crew of Smithsonian scientists came upon a gruesome scene: two bodies, mummified by the searing heat, on the shore of a remote Galápagos island. For the past four years Hancock and other American elites had traveled the South Seas to collect specimens for scientific research. On one trip to the Galápagos, Hancock was surprised to discover an equally exotic group of humans: European exiles who had fled political and economic unrest, hoping to create a utopian paradise. One was so devoted to a life of isolation that he’d had his teeth extracted and replaced with a set of steel dentures.

As Hancock and his fellow American explorers would witness, paradise had turned into chaos. The three sets of exiles—a Berlin doctor and his lover, a traumatized World War I veteran and his young family, and an Austrian Baroness with two adoring paramours—were riven by conflict. Petty slights led to angry confrontations. The Baroness, wielding a riding crop and pearl-handled revolver, staged physical fights between her two lovers and unabashedly seduced American tourists. The conclusion was deadly: with two exiles missing and three others dead, the survivors hurled accusations of murder.

Using never-before-published archives, Abbott Kahler weaves a chilling, stranger-than-fiction tale worthy of Agatha Christie. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the march to World War II, with a mystery as alluring and curious as the Galápagos itself, Eden Undone explores the universal and timeless desire to seek utopia—and lays bare the human fallibility that, inevitably, renders such a quest doomed.