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Lesley Thomson


Ian Rankin

Lesley Thomson is a class above, and A Kind of Vanishing is a novel to treasure.

A spellbinding mystery of obsession and guilt, this is also the poignant story of what happens to those left behind when a child vanishes without trace.

It is the summer of 1968, the day Senator Robert Kennedy is shot. Two nine-year-old girls are playing hide and seek in the ruins of a deserted village. Alice has discovered a secret about Eleanor Ramsay's mother, and is taunting the other girl. When it is Eleanor's turn to hide, Alice disappears.

Years later, an extraordinary turn of events opens up shocking truths for the Ramsay family and all who knew the missing girl.

Read Chapter One

Lesley Thomson

is a prize-winning crime writer. She graduated from the University of Brighton and has an MA from the University of Sussex. She teaches creative writing at West Dean College near Chichester and lives with her partner in Lewes, East Sussex . She is the author of the Number One bestseller, The Detective’s Daughter.

See also The Book Depository interview.

Amy Myers, Shots

This gripping and well written thriller was first published in 2007 and now makes a welcome reappearance from Myriad Editions. I reviewed it on its first publication – and on its second reading am no less impressed by it. More if anything. The strength of the writing and the author’s brilliant evocation of how a child mind works combine to terrifying effect. Lesley Thomson has a masterly control of detail, piling one upon another until the location, characters and their family lives are startlingly vivid. A novel one cannot forget – and I never have. Next please!

The Guardian

Thomson skilfully evokes the era and the slow-moving quality of childhood summers, suggesting the menace lurking just beyond the vision of her young protagonists. A study of memory and guilt with several twists.


This emotionally charged thriller grips fromthe first paragraph, and a nail-biting level of suspense is maintained throughout. A great novel.

Scott Pack, Me and My Big Mouth

A thoughtful, well-observed story about families and relationships and what happens to both when a tragedy occurs. It reminded me of Kate Atkinson. Thomson is particularly good at capturing the minutiae of childhood as well as the secrets, the lies, the make believe, the jealousies and spitefulness, the confusion and wonder of being nine years old.

Book After Book

Lesley Thomson’s engaging writing style skilfully explores the obsession and the sense of guilt, hope and despair, trust and mistrust that will fill the lives of all the people who once knew the girl who disappeared. A masterful exploration of human feelings that is paired with an equally masterful description of the settings that form the background to this gripping story. Full of unexpected twists, this is a crime story that will leave you wondering until the end whether a crime has, in fact, been committed at all.

Anne Cater, Random Things Through my Letterbox

This is a dark, hauntingly chilling read. An expose of minds, relationships, families and passion.

The Parkinson

Skilfully lays the foundations in the earlier chapters for what is to come. Each layer of the plot is carefully interwoven with the thoughts, wishes and desires of the main characters. Years pass culminating in the explosion of a shocking truth. If you enjoy a good thriller with more twists and turns than a cork screw, I recommend it.

Candis Magazine

Complex, disturbing and surprising...the sort of book where you simply have to completely rethink what you thought was going to happen - before sleeping with the lights on.

The Argus

The characterisation is particularly excellent...A sensitively written story, evocatively described, this is also an unusual thriller in that it easily bears a second reading.

Promoting Crime Fiction

Warmly recommended. 

Mystery Women

A beautifully written story, the characters and characterisation are thoughtful and believable. A book to read curled up in an armchair not on a sun lounger by the pool. I recommend it.

Morning Star

This is a completely gripping book, both as a psycho-social study and as psychological thriller.

Abbey's Bookshop, Sydney

There is a touch of Susan Hill or Ruth Rendell in her (Barbara Vine) gothic mode here. Very well written.

The People's Book Prize for Fiction

A Kind of Vanishing was awarded the inaugural People's Book Prize for Fiction in 2010. This new national prize, supported by the Publishers' Association, was the brain-child of late Dame Beryl Bainbridge who set it up as showcase for new talent in the UK. The prize is judged by the readers themselves, the general public.

Women in Crime: Elizabeth Haynes and Lesley Thomson

New Edition

RRP £7.99 pbk
352 pages • 129 x 198mm
ISBN 978-0-9565599-3-7
E-ISBN 978-0-9565599-9-9
New Edition published Jan 2014
First Edition published 21 June 2007
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Buy the paperback now
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First Edition

Out now: A Kind of Vanishing audiobook

Become a fan of A Kind of Vanishing on Facebook.

In Camera: Lesley Thomson talks about the use of photography in her writing

German edition

ISBN: 978-3-404-92319-9

Australian edition

ISBN: 1-876756-68-3

Interviewed at BBC Radio Sussex following the People's Book Prize Award

Seaford Live

Addressing the Chamber of Commerce

With poet and novelist Robert Dickinson at Brighton Festival's The Dog House reading event

Waterstone's signing

The Book & The Rose Festival