Appointment in Samarra: In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville social circuit is electrified with parties and dances, where the music plays late into the night and the liquor flows freely. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English - the envy of friends and strangers alike. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction. BUtterfield 8: bestseller upon its publication in 1935, Butterfield 8 was inspired by a news account of the discovery of the body of a beautiful young woman washed up on a Long Island beach. Was it an accident, a murder, a suicide? The circumstances of her death were never resolved, but O'Hara seized upon the tragedy to imagine the woman's down-and-out life in New York City in the early 1930s. Hope of Heaven: Movie Industry in California.