Magpie Lane: the most chilling and twisty read of the year

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Quercus, Feb 1, 2020 - Fiction - 368 pages

'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

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - arubabookwoman - LibraryThing

This is a psychological thriller involving an unreliable narrator, Dee, who is nanny to the child of an Oxford Master. When the novel opens, the nanny is being questioned by the police after the child ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RidgewayGirl - LibraryThing

A thriller about an Oxford nanny whose charge is a troubled eight year old girl with selective mutism. The girl's father and her stepmother are far to busy to spend time with her and they both live in ... Read full review

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About the author (2020)

Lucy Atkins is an award-winning author, feature journalist and Sunday Times book critic. She has written for newspapers including the Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times and the Telegraph as well as many UK magazines. She teaches on the Masters in Creative Writing at Oxford University.

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