Kathy Marks was one of six media representatives chosen to attend the trials of multiple Pitcairn males charged with the rape and sexual abuse of young girls over a multi-decade period. As such, she had an unprecedented chance during her five week stay to live among the 47 people living there.
I think she did as good job as could be expected, though the book still leaves the reader thinking that she barely glimpsed the surface of what went on.
I won't bore you with a history lesson, just a geography one. Pitcairn is 3km by 2km and is the most inaccessible and remote inhabited place on earth (some places are more remote but are serviced by regular air or sea links.) Peru is close but New Zealand is considered the nearest major place, and Pitcairn is governed by its Governor General. It has no beaches or natural harbours and until recently anybody wishing to land there had to met at sea by the island's longboats.
In 1999, almost by chance, a serious sexual allegation was made and this widened into Operation Unique. Eventually seven men, about a third of the adult male population, stood accused of 55 charges, and six were convicted.
Nothing about the island or the trial is straightforward. Marks delves into the history, the power structure of the male-dominated island, the sociology of a small, cut-off society and mostly does a good job. Quite early on I thought she had decided which side she was on, a choice I think is vindicated when you read the testimonies of the victims.
It's a book from which few people come out looking good, and also leaves you with more questions, especially about the secretive islanders themselves.
Edit: It looks like this was published in the UK as "Trouble in Paradise: Uncovering the Dark Secrets of Britain's Most Remote Island"