A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year: “Part social satire, part thriller, and entirely clever” (Elle).
It is a midsummer’s evening in the English countryside, and the three grown Palmer children are coming to the end of an enjoyable meal in the company of their partners and offspring. From this pleasant vantage point they play a dinner-party game: What kind of society would you be willing to accept if you didn’t know your place in it? But the abstract question of justice, like all their family conversations, is eventually brought back to the more pressing problem of their eccentric mother, Frieda, the famous writer, who has abandoned them and her old life, and gone to live alone in Exmoor.
Frieda has always been a powerful and puzzling figure, a monster mother with a mysterious past. What is she plotting against them now? Has some inconvenient form of political correctness led her to favor her enchanting half-Guyanese grandson? What will she do with her money? Is she really writing her memoirs? And why has she disappeared? Has the dark spirit of Exmoor finally driven her mad?
The Witch of Exmoor brilliantly interweaves high comedy and personal tragedy, unraveling the story of a family whose comfortable, rational lives, both public and private, are about to be violently disrupted by a succession of sinister, messy events. “Leisurely and mischievous,” it is a dazzling, wickedly gothic tale of a British matriarch, her three grasping children, and the perils of self-absorption (The New Yorker).
“As meticulous as Jane Austen, as deadly as Evelyn Waugh.” —Los Angeles Times