The Witch Elm

The Witch Elm

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life. He surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden. As detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, [2018]
ISBN: 9780735224629
Call Number: FICTION FRENCH 2018
Characteristics: 509 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 28, 2020

I've liked a few of the author's other books but I was disappointed with this one.

It's really, really long and it's not a thriller - it's more about the interwoven lives of a family with a skull being found along the way. There are a lot of flat characters with no action and the main character is not likeable so it's tough to read through long chapters that don't push the plot further along.

With about half the details removed it might flow.

Jul 12, 2020

A book about white privledge with its lack of empathy. The protagonist's luck runs out.

Jun 27, 2020

Didn't like the protagonist, nor the pat discourse from the sister in the reveal.

Feb 09, 2020

Wow. This is great storytelling, full of color and place, human conditions and relationships deeply rendered, suspense and unexpected twists. The tension made me anxious enough to have to put the book down a few times. I will definitely look for other books by Tana French.

Jan 31, 2020

I was hooked at the beginning, so read on to figure things out. I just about gave up a few times because of the long drawn out conversations that I suppose where there to build tension. They just made me impatient so I started skimming. The end was kind of a let down, but not surprising.

Jan 18, 2020

I truly enjoyed her first books, but this one lacked any kind of a gripping, or even mundane, plot. It almost seemed a parody of the author's style -- lots of words, lots of imagery, I mean lots and lots, but no reason for them. I gave up, leafed through the volume, read bits and found I missed nothing in between. I love a wry-written mystery/detection novel and read tons...this one was not.

Dec 31, 2019

The description of living with a brain injury is very enlightening. The characters are well developed. I really enjoyed reading this story.

HUTech Dec 04, 2019

This is a book that stayed with me after I read it. I'm a big fan of Tana French and I like that this was her first stand alone novel - not from the perspective of a police officer but still a gritty mystery. The characters weren't all likable but I loved the book.

Nov 05, 2019

Do not understand why this was on the best-seller lists and why I bothered to finish it. Unsympathetic characters, pointless narrative. Yes, it was well-written but long-winded and overdone. Completely lost on me. Many other better reads out there right now.

Oct 16, 2019

Maybe at a third of the length, this might have been OK. Maybe.
I want my mystery/thrillers to have some mystery or thrill in them. This one had neither. After 10 pages of interminable nothingness I tried skipping thru. That didn't work.
I have no idea how the skull got into the tree and I have absolutely no interest in finding out.
Too much useless, uninteresting verbiage.
I mistakenly gave this 1 1/2 stars . 1/2 would have been more than enough.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
ArapahoeMaryA Mar 13, 2019

But we’re so desperate, aren’t we, to believe that bad luck only happens to people who deserve it. People genuinely can’t take it in that someone could die of cancer without bloody well smoking.

ArapahoeAnnaL Jan 10, 2019

"...for whichever reason, growing apart or fighting or cheating or just getting old and dying, relationships don't last forever...But I was really in love with Jo. And ... I genuinely couldn't handle that." pg. 332


Add Age Suitability
JCLGraceB Oct 18, 2018

JCLGraceB thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MCL

To Top