Making the very most of its evocative Oxford setting, the latest psychological thriller from Lucy Atkins features a mysterious disappearance, an unorthodox residence and a nanny who may not be all she appears.
'Riveting, twisty, page-turning stuff' Guardian
A 'best books of 2020' pick for BBC Radio 4 Open Book, the Guardian, the Telegraph and Good Housekeeping
'The page turner you've been looking for. Sly, witty and gripping . . . I devoured it' Naomi Alderman
'An utter joy . . . wonderfully skilled' Sarah Perry
'Beguiling, brilliantly creepy, and an utterly compelling read' Claire Fuller
'Tender, creepy and gripping' Sunday Times
'Spellbinding and spooky . . . a dazzling high wire act, superbly absorbing' Sunday Mirror
When the eight-year-old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, police turn to the Scottish nanny, Dee, for answers.
As Dee looks back over her time in the Master's Lodging - an eerie and ancient house - a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother.
But is Dee telling the whole story? Is her growing friendship with the eccentric house historian, Linklater, any cause for concern? And most of all, why is Felicity silent?
Roaming Oxford's secret passages and hidden graveyards, Magpie Lane explores the true meaning of family - and what it is to be denied one.
'Enthralling . . . creepy and compelling' The Times
'Deliciously dark' Alexandra Shulman
'A gorgeously satisfying triumph' Lucy Mangan
'A rare thing . . . simply stunning' Daily Express
'I was gripped . . . highly original' Alex Clark
'Creepy, suspenseful' Independent
'One of the most intriguing narrators since Notes on a Scandal' Sara Collins
'Grown-up and cleverly written . . . a dizzying sense of uncertainty' Literary Review
'Keeps you guessing . . . a real sense of menace' Good Housekeeping
'Wholly beguiling' Mick Herron
'Dazzlingly good' Diane Setterfield
'Beautiful writing' Polly Samson
'Clever, tense and twisty' Amanda Craig
'Highly intelligent' Sarah Vaughan
'Simply brilliant!' JP Delaney
'Darkly atmospheric' Jane Fallon
'Clever and creepy' Erin Kelly
'Highly recommended' Louise Candlish
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 260 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 28 mm
It is a long time since I have enjoyed a book as thoroughly as I enjoyed Magpie Lane, which reminded me variously of Iris Murdoch, Ruth Rendell, Donna Tartt and Daphne du Maurier. I adored the narrator, and it was an utter joy to relish Atkins's wonderfully skilled and unobtrusive writing and lose myself in the mystery
The page turner you've been looking for. Sly, witty and gripping . . . I loved it
The word-of-mouth success of lockdown, this riveting exploration of emotional damage is set against the dysfunctional world of Oxford academia . . . It is twisty, page-turning stuff, but Atkins also excels at characterisation: the deliciously horrid master and his new wife, the eccentric scholar writing a history of their creepy house, the closed-off nanny with her own secrets and the girl at the centre of it all.
Tender, creepy and gripping
With graceful writing, sharply observed characters including the city itself, and a withering look at the hidebound ways of dusty-gowned academia, this wonderfully atmospheric tale is, at its core, about the true meaning of family
A creepy, suspenseful thriller set against the dreaming spires of Oxford
I fell hard for the beautiful writing and ghostly mood of Magpie Lane. Dee, a riveting Russian doll of a character, had me in her thrall from start to finish. Highly recommended
Clever and creepy, twisty yet tender: Magpie Lane will have you hearing footsteps overhead in an empty house. I loved it
'Full of hidden chambers, and some of them are haunted . . . part thriller, part love story, wholly beguiling. I was glued to every page'
'Lucy Atkins excels at creating highly intelligent, slightly eccentric outsiders. I was completely immersed . . . and preoccupied, and appalled, by such credible characters. I loved it!'
'The most sublime book I've read since Apple Tree Yard . . . masterful writing from an experienced hand. I'll be gushing about this for a while'
One of the most intriguing narrators since Notes on a Scandal - I loved it!
Darkly atmospheric, Magpie Lane will grip you from the first page and refuse to let you go
'So clever and different. I raced through for the reveal but also the spookiness, the characters and the wonderful love story'
'A brilliant feat - a creepy, chilling, page-turning tale that also made me laugh out loud. I can think of no other writer who pulls that off'
'Intricate, intelligent, and immensely satisfying, and with a deliciously spooky edge. It really is first-class Oxford intrigue'
'That rare thing: a thriller that warms your heart even as it chills your spine. I adored it on so many levels - the page-turning tension, the emotional depth of the central relationship. Simply brilliant!'
Beguiling, brilliantly creepy, and an utterly compelling read. Lucy Atkins has created such a complex character in Dee: I rooted for her, and yet was suspicious of her; swept along by her love story, but worried for her. A wonderful story
A sinewy, supple and gorgeously satisfying triumph
'Dark, twisted, and gloriously rich, and I loved every word'
'The most deliciously unreliable narrator, dysfunctional relationships, spooky goings-on, and a missing child - all set against the rarefied world of Oxford academia. So clever and compelling'
Spellbindingly brilliant. I was engrossed from start to finish, and fell in love with the wonderful cast. Lucy Atkins is an extraordinary writer, who draws us into her world and keeps us there; I shall be thinking about this story for a long time. A contender for my Book of the Year
Magpie Lane is stunning, with an unforgettable narrative voice, brilliant evocation of the setting and a chilling, totally gripping story. It is everything I love in a novel and utterly compelling - you will not want to put it down
Immersive, unsettling and hugely addictive. I loved all the Oxford detail. Superb
The investigation at the heart of Lucy Atkins's clever thriller is 'what makes a family unhappy?' The suspense builds inexorably until Magpie Lane has you by your throat
As nuanced a study of loneliness and longing as you could hope to meet in contemporary fiction
I couldn't have loved this book more. Creepy, dark, compelling so clever. Every time you scratch off one layer to get to the truth, there is another one underneath. Lucy Atkins is a quiet genius
Wow. I put my life on hold whilst I read this novel. An eerie and compelling story, beautifully crafted and darkly atmospheric with characters who infiltrate your every thought. I couldn't put it down and I'm buying it for everyone I know
Magpie Lane is deliciously dark and keeps flipping your certainties on their head from start to finish
It's taken many false starts to find a book to properly carry me away during this lockdown and this was it. Gripping as well as beautifully written. Thank you, Lucy Atkins, it was such a relief to be lost in your pages
It's been a while since I've been as sucked in by a thriller as I was with this one
Lucy Atkins brilliantly ratchets up the tension, leaving a few red herrings in her wake
Clever, tense and as twisty as an Oxford backstreet
This chilling and twisty tale will have you hooked