Whatever inner agonies had assailed 21-year-old Eileen Gibson, known as "Gay," they were forever resolved in the early morning of Oct. 18. Ninety miles off the coast of Portuguese Guinea, she was pushed through a porthole into the ocean —perhaps alive, perhaps dead—from a first-class cabin on "B" deck of the steamship Durban Castle. Eight days later, when the Durban Castle put into Southampton, detectives came aboard and arrested James Camb, a deck steward, for the murder of Eileen Gibson.

Five months to the day after Gay's disappearance, Camb went on trial for...

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