Dirt Town

Hayley Scrivenor

23 June 2022
400 pages


*Winner of the CWA New Blood Dagger 2023*

'A heart-wrenching mystery' – Jane Harper, author of The Dry
'A stunning debut' - Ann Cleeves

Twelve year-old Esther Bianchi disappears on her way home from school in the small town of Durton – and the truth will not come easily. Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor is an atmospheric crime novel set in rural Australia.

Dirt town. Dirt and hurt – that’s what others would remember about our town . . .


As the community is thrown into a state of grief and suspicion, Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels begins her investigation into the disappearance of Esther Bianchi. She questions those who knew the girl, attempting to unpick the secrets which bind them together.


The girl’s mother, Constance, believes that her daughter going missing is the worst thing that can happen to her. But as the search for Esther develops, she learns that things can always get worse.


Ronnie is Esther’s best friend and is determined to bring her home. So when her classmate Lewis tells her that he saw Esther with a strange man at the creek the afternoon she went missing, Ronnie feels she is one step closer to finding her. But why is Lewis refusing to speak to the police?

And who else is keeping quiet about what happened to Esther?

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor will appeal to fans of Jane Harper's The Dry and Chris Whitaker's We Begin at the End.

A heart-wrenching mystery, Hayley Scrivenor’s remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Town to life. A stellar debut
A stunning debut. Achingly atmospheric, thrilling and heartfelt, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough
Beautifully written, compassionate, with an entirely credible but heart-breaking ending. A stunning debut