Esther was born on Saint Marie, where she went to school with DS Florence Cassell. She moved with her family to England while she was in her teens. Esther was an English student studying for her PhD under Professor Anna Wolf, and the subject of her thesis was The Flame Tree. The book was set on Saint Marie and written by local author Sylvie Baptiste. During the course of her studies, she came to believe that Sylvie had not written the book, and it was in fact the work of her sister, Lizzie Baptiste.
While on Saint Marie for a literary festival being held on the Malbonne Estate – Sylvie's family home and setting for The Flame Tree – Esther confronted Sylvie with her findings. She also spoke with Lizzie in the presence of Sylvie's assistant, Patricia Lawrence, but found that the woman did not remember writing anything due to a mental breakdown. She arranged to meet Lizzie on a clifftop featured in the novel and read to her, hoping the location would jog her memory.
During the festival, Esther slipped away to meet Lizzie. Unknown to her, Lizzie was not coming as Patricia had told her the meeting was cancelled. Instead, Patricia followed her to the cliff and pushed her off, planting a suicide note.