Little Comfort is the first book in the Hester Thursby series. Hester is a Harvard Librarian who is currently on leave because she is caring for her best friend’s little girl, Kate. Daphne has a habit of disappearing and Daphne’s brother, Morgan, is Hester’s partner so they feel obligated to take care of Kate while Daphne is gone. Between the two of them they are trying to care for Kate until Daphne returns, although they don’t know where she is or when she is coming back.
Hester is still getting used to this “mommy” thing and is the first to admit that she is struggling with it. Hester has made a second career out of finding people for others.When she is approached by Lila Blaine who wants to find her brother, Sam, she asks Hester to try and find him. She says that Sam and his best friend, Gabe, left when they were fourteen. All Lila has are anonymous postcards sent from various cities over the years that she is sure are from Sam. She claims that she wants to sell a family lake property and wants Sam to get his share.
Hester begins to investigate and it doesn’t take her very long before she finds Sam and Gabe who are living under different names in Boston. However, Sam doesn’t want to be found. He is involved with a Boston socialite and living the good life. As Hester continues he investigation she begins to realize that there is more to this story than she was first told and suddenly her life is in danger.
The story alternates between the past and the present as we begin to understand why Sam and Gabe ran away all those years ago. Set mostly in Boston and New Hampshire, Little Comfort has a strong sense of place, characterization and plot. It deals with some difficult subject matter, child abuse, murder, serial killers and child abandonment but it kept me reading.
Hester is tiny but tenacious and she is a fun character. She took Kate with her on some of her investigations and that wasn’t the wisest thing to do because she put her in danger. Hopefully in the next books in this series Hester will get the “mommy thing” down.
I chose this book for the mystery book group I facilitate at the library and we had a good discussion about it.