Hester prefers to hear the details before she starts speculating, and has picked up on the patterns of her roommate. She tells Tom that Claire must have liked him, since “the way she talked about the others” inferred scorn toward them. She asks numerous questions about Claire and Tom’s relationship, about what they do in their jobs, about how the Enigma machine works, etc., before she starts volunteering to help him solve the mystery of her roommate’s disappearance. Though initially cautious, Claire becomes more adventurous and more willing to speculate as time goes on. She isn’t stumped by Tom’s pessimistic insistence that the trail has gone cold, and there’s no hope for either of them – not that “I’ve gotten the hang of this detective work,” she wants to keep going. She has the patience he lacks when it comes to spending all day painstakingly resetting an Enigma machine in order to find out what is in the missing reports, and then figures out that it’s a list of Polish names identifying those murdered by the Soviets during their occupation of Poland. She has a warm and generous nature, easily moved to tears at the thought that Claire might be drowned at the bottom of the river. She becomes easy friends with Tom and tries to comfort him in his grief, by telling him nice things about how Claire thought of him. She is frank about expressing her feelings, rebuffing the insolent advances of her boss with an exchange of mild threats (“What will your wife say?”) and insults (inferring that without her glasses, he looks better, also). She wants to understand how the Enigma machine works, what happened to Claire, etc., and is able to make sense of it inwardly. She’s good at solving crossword puzzles and putting logical pieces together once she has all the facts. She doesn’t give up when stumped by seemingly unintelligible messages and continues to rethink them until they make sense.

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Hester is cautious and sensible, well aware of the danger of what they are doing, and somewhat risk-adverse… more so than Tom. She initially refuses to take risks, but then becomes curious and does so, to collect information so they can follow up on Claire’s disappearance. She is sweet, generous, and attractive in her personality, but also has a contrarian nature and tells it like it is (being blunt with her boss and telling Tom he ought not to mope around as much). A serious woman, she finds it frustrating that while only three people solved a complex word puzzle in the newspaper, the men have gone on to become code breakers and she’s a “glorified file clerk.” She trusts her own mind, and thinks they can solve anything with enough research.