The ending of Lisa Jewell’s Watching You

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS. For a relatively spoiler-free post see my original review.

There have been quite a few requests for an explanation of the ending of Watching You, and in particular the owner of the hair so here’s my take. Right up to the end of the book it is maintained that Genevieve Hart kills herself, as a result of the appalling bullying she endured from Nikki Lee and her sidekicks. The local paper report concludes

…Miss Hart left no note, and had cut off her hair with a pair of scissors shortly before taking her own life

Lisa Jewell watching you coverTom Fitzwilliam will have been aware of that newspaper report. So when Freddie presents him with the bunch of hair he finds in his mother’s boxes, Fitzwilliam realises that this places Nikki at least shortly before Viva’s death. Indeed, his reaction suggests that he concludes that this was no suicide but that his late wife must have murdered Viva.

Now as readers we may have already come up with the conclusion that Viva was murdered by Nikki, but in placing the revelation here Jewell does a number of things. First, she makes it clear that Tom Fitzwilliam took the newspaper reports at face value. He did not know for sure what Nikki had done, which means she lied to him, or he did not ask. Second, she invites us to think about what kind of person would keep that kind of trophy. When placed alongside the epilogue letter it seems to suggest that she is siding with Nikki’s murderer. 

If you have a different theory, I’d be glad to hear, so leave a comment below.

And here’s a review of Lisa Jewell’s latest thriller: The Night She Disappeared



  1. I don’t think Nicola killed Viva because like Rebecca said she was a coward and never did the dirty work herself so she must have just been there torturing Viva to commit suicide.

  2. I mostly agree. I think that Nicola either killed Viva or pushed her to kill herself after tricking her into thinking she was meeting Tom. My question upon finishing the book is how did Nicola happen to get Viva’s hair? In the news report that Freddie and Jenna found, it was said that she was found hanged with a pair of stockings with her hair at her feet. How would Nicola have ended up with the hair if the story continued to be that Viva committed suicide?

  3. The ending appears obvious; however, one question comes to mind: On the envelope the dark hair is in, there are the letters “DL”. What do these letters stand for?

    • Hi – it’s a ‘DL envelope’. DL is the standard size of envelope used in the UK for business correspondence: long and thin, it takes an A4 sheet of paper folded twice. The DL detail is meant to show that it’s a random, run-of-the-mill envelope probably found lying around and with no effort made in choosing it.

      • Thanks! I thought, perhaps, it was someone’s initials, which would have revealed something I completely missed. The quarantine has apparently affected my brain. 😅

  4. Great explanation! I was so confused as I had totally forgotten the detail about Viva cutting off her hair prior to “committing suicide”.

  5. Arghhh thank you so much it didn’t click with me at all about Viva cutting her hair connecting with the hair in the envelope! Thick or what! 😂

  6. I agree with you. I took it that the hair belonged to Nikki and that Viva had been there … either murdering her or driving her to take her own life. I thought that Tom didn’t realize until Freddie brought him the hair.

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