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A Hester Thursby Mystery

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In a brilliantly twisted debut set among Boston’s elite, Edwin Hill introduces unforgettable sleuth Hester Thursby—and a missing persons case that uncovers a trail of vicious murder . . .

Harvard librarian Hester Thursby knows that even in the digital age, people still need help finding things. Using her research skills, Hester runs a side business tracking down the lost. Usually, she’s hired to find long-ago prom dates or to reunite adopted children and birth parents. Her new case is finding the handsome and charismatic Sam Blaine.

Sam has no desire to be found. As a teenager, he fled his small New Hampshire town with his friend, Gabe, after a haunting incident. For a dozen years, Sam and Gabe have traveled the country, reinventing themselves as they move from one mark to another. Sam has learned how trusting wealthy people can be—especially the lonely ones—as he expertly manipulates his way into their lives and homes.  In Wendy Richards, the beautiful, fabulously rich daughter of one of Boston’s most influential families, he’s found the perfect way to infiltrate the milieu in which he knows he belongs—a world of Brooks Brothers suits, Nantucket summers, and effortless glamour.

As Hester’s investigation closes in on their brutal truth, the bond between Sam and Gabe is tested and Hester unknowingly jeopardizes her own safety. While Gabe has pinned all his desperate hopes of a normal life on Hester, Sam wants her out of the way for good. And Gabe has always done what Sam asks . . .

The second book in the series, The Missing Ones, will be available in September of 2019.  

Praise for Little Comfort

"An increasingly tense plot and striking characters—in particular, compassionate, conflicted, loving Hester—make Little Comfort a standout."

STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly 

"Hester Thursby is a tough, cerebral, relatably flawed sleuth who lulls herself to sleep with horror films and takes on serial killers and unexpected motherhood without skipping a beat. A dark but compassionate psychological-thriller debut with great appeal for fans of Ruth Ware and Cornelia Read."


“[Little Comfort] is a fascinating psychological thriller that gets deep under your skin.”

- “Five Reinventions of the Boston Crime Novel,” Strand Magazine

"Hill's debut is a chilling psychological thriller with an unusual heroine and a page-turning storyline."

Kirkus Reviews

"This was a captivating tale and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Hester and her adventures."

- DRU ANN LOVE, Dru's Book Musings

"This is not a book of good versus evil but one of troubled souls on life’s journey where no one is completely innocent, but some stray too far to ever return home."


"Little Comfort is deftly crafted and its terrifying conclusion stayed with me long after I finished reading.  At its core, this is a story of love and devotion - sometimes misguided - that spins dangerously out of control, throwing protagonist Hester Thursby and those she cherishes into harm's way. Hill makes you care about each and every character in this incredible novel, which is no small feat.  Don't miss this one!"

MAGGIE BARBIERI, author of Once Upon a Lie and the Murder 101 series

“Little Comfort isn’t just the arrival of a fantastic new book, but also marks the emergence of a spectacular writer to watch. This story had me hooked from the first chapter, and my nails bitten to the nub before I was halfway through. Watch out! Little Comfort delivers just what the title promises.

BRACKEN MACLEOD, author of Stranded and 13 Views of the Suicide Woods

"A chilling mix of envy, deceit, and murder. Everyone is lying about something in this tense, stylish debut novel. . . . [It] will have you frantically turning pages until the final, breathless climax.”

JOANNA SCHAFFHAUSEN, author of The Vanishing Season

"In his compelling debut novel Little Comfort, Edwin Hill spins layer upon layer of intrigue as Hester Thursby, in the business of finding people who don’t want to be found, takes on a job that turns out to be far more surprising and dangerous than she bargained for. This smart, complex, and suspenseful New England thriller will keep you turning pages far into the night."

JESSICA TREADWAY, author of Lacy Eye and How Will I Know You?

“Compellingly plotted and compulsively readable, Little Comfort will leave you a little uncomfortable in the best of ways. Hester Thursby, its powerhouse protagonist, is tough, intriguingly flawed and complex. Edwin Hill’s first effort is certain to be among the year’s best debuts.”

JOHN KEYSE-WALKER, author of Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed and winner of the 2015 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award

"Fast-paced and riveting, Edwin Hill’s Little Comfort takes off from the opening pages and never lets up. Don’t miss this can’t-put-down debut!"

CARLA NEGGERS, best-selling author of the Sharpe and Donovan series

Additional reviews

WritersBone.com, “19 Books that Should Be on Your Radar, November 2018.” MORE>>

The Sun Chronicle, “Debut Mysteries.” MORE>>

“A Haven for Book Lovers.” MORE>>

“Diane Reviews Books.” MORE>>

“A Garden Carried in the Pocket.” MORE>>

“Book Reviews and More by Kathy.” MORE>>

“Reviewing the Evidence.” MORE>>

“SPW Writes.” MORE>>

“Not a Book Snob.” MORE>>

“Laurie’s Lit Picks.” MORE>>

Discussion Questions

  1. Little Comfort is told from many points of view, and we learn about the story through different characters. Which characters did you identify with most? Were they all reliable, and are they always telling the truth to themselves?

  2. Did you find yourself switching your allegiances to characters as you progressed through the novel? Do you think the author intended you to side with anyone in particular? Why or why not?

  3. What do you make of Hester’s ambivalence toward Kate, and her relationship with Morgan? How would you describe Hester? What are her strengths? What are her shortcomings? How do these qualities affect her choices?

  4. There are a number of physical spaces in the story that help establish character (Hester’s apartment, Little Comfort, Lila’s house, Gabe and Sam’s Somerville apartment). Which was the most vivid in your mind, and how did the descriptions of the spaces move the story forward or enrich it?

  5. Kate’s sister Daphne never actually appears in the story, but her presence looms large throughout the novel. How did Daphne’s relationship with Hester make you feel? How would you deal with some of Hester’s challenges if you were in her place? Would you make different choices?

  6. People use each other to their own advantage throughout this story. Sam uses Gabe; Daphne uses Hester; even Felicia uses Wendy. Describe some of the ways characters use each other, from the typical to the criminal to the pathological.

  7. Hester physicality is central to the story. In what ways does her physical self-work to her advantage in the novel? How else does physicality play out in the story?

  8. Why do Sam and Gabe stay together? What does each of them get out of the relationship, and how does that change throughout the novel? What surprised you about the choices each of them made in the end?

  9. Many of the characters in Little Comfort are searching for a place to belong. What does it mean to belong for a character like Hester or Felicia versus Sam or Gabe? 10. Why does Sam send postcards to Lila? Why does he write movie quotes on them?

  10. What commentary does the novel offer on the treatment of society’s most vulnerable? For example, what does it say about the care of foster children? About attitudes toward war veterans?

  11. One of the themes in the novel is staying versus leaving. Why do some characters choose to leave, while others stay?