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The Crack Magazine


The Wych Elm

Tana French, Viking

The Ivy House is the affectionate name bestowed on a grand familial home in a well to do part of Dublin. The only person residing there is Hugo, who, despite living on borrowed time due to a brain tumour, still plays host when the extended family arrive for Sunday lunches and various parties. One of the family is 20-something Toby, who, along with his cousins, spent many happy summers at the house. He works in PR for an art gallery but after taking a severe beating one night, must undertake an extensive period of rehabilitation. He, along with his girlfriend, decide to move in with Hugo where it’s thought they can support each other. During a family dinner however, a grisly discovery is made in the garden, which then sees the house overrun with the police. The story, told by Toby (who, due to his head injury, is the perfect unreliable narrator) unfurls at a leisurely pace, but the lively dialogue, particularly between the local “Guards” and sundry witnesses/suspects, keeps your interest pegged nice and high.

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