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Magpie Lane

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  60 reviews
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

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published February 1st 2020 by Quercus
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  194 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You know that feeling when you are desperate to find out how a story ends but equally desperate not to finish it because its soooo good? Thats how Magpie Lane is for me. Take one angry, controlling Oxford College Master, his eight year old selectively mute daughter, a pregnant Danish stepmother whose a fraught wallpaper restorer (yes, its a thing), a mathematically obsessed Nanny with a past, a fabulously eccentric House Detective whose been doing his doctorate for 27 years, a cat called ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I have read by Lucy Atkins, but I am certain that I will be reading more by her in future. I absolutely loved this creepy, unsettling read, set in the academic world of Oxford.

We meet main character, Dee, when she is being interviewed by the police. Nanny to eight year old Felicity, her charge has gone missing and Detectives Faraday, and Khan, believe that she knows more than she is telling. As they try to unravel Felicitys whereabouts, we learn of Dees story. Her chance
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
With a lot of experience under her belt, Dee thought she had seen it all. When Oxford college master Nick and his designer wife Mariah hire her to be the nanny for their eight year old girl Felicity, she agrees to the temporary assignment.
Felicity is selectively mute, bereaved by the loss of her birthmother and being bullied at school.
Then one day she disappears.
The story alternates between police station and the family home, the tension is palpable. Both are confined spaces that keep the
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: 'A little boy died here!' Mariah's voice trembled from the bed,close to tears. 'A little boy was murdered in this house!'

I walked over. 'What?'

'That house detective person just phoned-I'd forgotten all about him. He was asking for you, for some reason, he says he's trying your mobile but you won't pick up. Why's he phoning you ? I was sleeping-he just woke me up and he told me to tell you a little boy was murdered here. A little boy was poisoned in this house! In the First World War! Oh
Let me introduce you to my second 5-star read for 2020 TA DA! MAGPIE LANE was like my own personal formula for reading bliss. A nanny in an old spooky English manor house in Oxford. Family secrets. A disturbed child who may or may not have some connection to the weird noises and shadows flitting about in the house at night. Characters who ALL have something to hide. All the very things I just LOVE in a mystery!

Dee is a middle-aged woman with some secrets in her past that have seen her live a
Roman Clodia
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved Atkins' The Night Visitor but this one sort of fizzled out on me. There are lots of Gothic trappings but they're not really relevant to the actual story. To warm to this story you really need to engage with 8 year old Felicity, and child characters are never my favourite. Structurally, this is essentially a long police interview with the nanny, Dee, when Felicity disappears, and her short answers to the police are followed by her memories, thoughts, and wanderings so that the tale ...more
Becky (Head In The Pages) Kearns
This was tense and so cleverly written. The way that Atkins writes makes it appear effortless.

At times I wondered whether this would turn out to be purely a domestic thriller, or whether it would be a horror or have some supernatural aspects to it.

I was tense all the way through and just dying to know what would happen. I doubted so many of the characters at different points too

Theyre all written so well and each character is complex enough to feel tangible but not so developed that theyre hard
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely amazing read this book was. Occasionally books are referred to as being memorising and for me, Magpie Lane was just that.

The story is told from the perspective of Dee, she is answering questions at the police station in Oxford regarding the disappearance of her charge Felicity Law. This is a little girl who has been through a lot. Her father Nick and Stepmother Mariah both have intensive jobs and Dee seems to be the right fit.

The story of Dees past, her job with the Law family
Joanne Robertson
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one stunning book! Ive never physically had that many goosebumps whilst reading a book before!

Magpie Lane is an exquisitely plotted, character driven psychological thriller that immediately bewitched me. It was an intelligent and creepy tale exploring family, loss and the myths and stories we build around them. I fell madly in love with the characters-Dee the Scottish nanny, Felicity her selectively mute charge and Linklater, the house historian who becomes Dees friend when hes employed
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
This book is really intriguing and there is a real sadness about it right from the start. At the beginning we meet Dee - she usually works as a nanny but is at a cross roads in her life. She meets Nick, Oxford Master who offers her a job with his family. His daughter from a previous marriage, Felicity, is a selective mute so we know right away that all is not right in the Masters House. Nick's relationship with his wife, Mariah, is clearly not great. Also, there are some strange goings on in the ...more
Verity Salter
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A domestic thriller that will grip you from the very beginning.

Eight year old Felicity Law has gone missing from her home in Oxford; her father is an influential academic, her beautiful Danish stepmother is frantic with worry. The police turn to Felicity's nanny, Dee, for answers. Through Dee's police interviews and reminisces we begin to slowly unravel what has been happening in the house on Magpie Lane over the last seven months.

I very much enjoyed this novel, the plot is substantial and had
Anna Elliott
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This fabulous book ended up being a quick read for me as I could not put it down and sprinted through it to get to the books conclusion.

For my full review please visit my blog at:

Miss R
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A cerebral, atmospheric thriller - unmissable and unputdownable.

If Alan Turing, Colin Dexter and the Brothers Grimm created the novelistic equivalent of a love child it would look like "Magpie Lane". Where to begin? Well, I suppose I should start by saying that although the prefix 'psychological', almost automatically predates 'thriller' or 'mystery' by publishers keen to see their novels propelled ever upwards to
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Dee, a Scottish nanny, is being interviewed by the police about the disappearance of Felicity, an 8 - year - old girl she cares for. What makes the situation even more worse is the fact that Felicity is incredibly shy and selectively mute - she speaks only with her father and, only recently, with Dee. She has stopped speaking after her mother's death and, bereaved and bullied, she doesn't speak at school or with her stepmother Mariah, no matter how much Mariah tries.
Then Dr. Linklater comes into
Caroline Kerdouci
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like your thrillers to err on the side of a ghostly creepy nature where location and setting is paramount then look no further than Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins.
Set in the esteemed university world of Oxford, the Masters Lodgings are currently occupied by Dr Nick Law and his selectively mute daughter Felicity. His wife Maria is quickly cast as evil stepmother, pregnant with their child and both are simply at a loss as to what to do with Felicity, when they hire nanny Dee quite literally
miss.mesmerized mesmerized
When Dee returns from an overnight trip to London, the Oxford College Masters Lodging is a mess: Felicity, the girl she nannies and who suffers from selective mutism has vanished. Her Danish stepmother Mariah never bonded with the girl and since she has given to her own boy, she is totally exhausted and incapable of taking care of this extraordinary 8-year-old. Felicity must have sleepwalked, something she frequently does during her nightmares which have intensified since they moved to the old ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Firstly, I want to say thank you to Quercus Books for sending me a copy of Magpie Lane and asking me to be part of this social media blast for this book. I am very grateful for the opportunity. 

I feel like this book was different to so many thrillers that I have read before. I knew who had done it, from more or less the beginning but that didn't matter. It did not ruin my experience with the book, I continued to read because I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what had happened which lead the
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well, this book kept me guessing pretty much all the way through. Although I did have a bit of an inkling as to where we would eventually end up, that didn't affect my journey getting there.
We start with a missing child. The eight year old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night. Did she sneak out or was she taken? Fingers obviously start to point to the family, her parents, father Nick and step-mum Mariah, and her nanny, Dee. As the book goes forward in the days
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My thanks to Quercus Books for an eARC via NetGalley of Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins in exchange for an honest review.

It is a psychological thriller with a definite Gothic feel. I obtained its audiobook edition, narrated by Susie Riddell, who voices the novels narrator, Dee, with a soft Scottish burr.

The plot focuses on the disappearance in the middle of the night of Felicity, the 8-year-old daughter of a recently appointed Oxford College Master. The familys Scottish nanny, Dee, is extensively
Vanessa Nunn
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Felicity is missing and everyone knows about it! Just 8 years old and the daughter of a Master at Oxford College - she is a troubled child. With crippling anxiety and fear in her eyes, this poor young girl is a mute. She doesn't even talk to her own mother! One day, Dee was strolling through the park and bumps into Nick, (the Master of the College.) After a brief chat, he desperately persuades her to meet his wife and consider taking an 'au pair' job in their extravagant abode. Despite the fact ...more
Isobel Brown
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So welcome to Dee, the most grouchy, unreliable-but-strangely-appealing narrator you could wish for, strongly in the vein of Zoe Heller's character Barbara in Notes on a Scandal. We meet an intriguing cast of characters through Dee's beady Scots Nanny's eyes, as she attempts to explain to two detectives the disappearance of her charge, Felicity, from the spooky old college attic where the little girl lives with her remote, show-off clever father, the Master of the college, and her distracted ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, and a fascinating glimpse into the world of Oxford academia. The story centres on Dee, a nanny who has worked for various Masters at the college, raising and nurturing their children. Her current charge, Felicity, is a selective mute - and she's missing.

The story unfolds through a series of police interviews, with the backstory gradually unravelling. But Dee's story doesn't match up with Felicity's parents' version of events.

I really loved Lucy's writing style - it's so
Noemi Proietti
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have been having a bit of a hard time concentrating on reading lately (and Ive seen I am not the only one), but Magpie Lane kept me completely captivated. Such an excellent read! Multi-layered characters, a creepy atmosphere, a house seemingly haunted by ghosts, and a gripping plot. I couldnt put it down!

It all started when Dee met new College Master Nick Law and got offered a job as a nanny for his daughter Felicity. Eight months later, Felicity is missing and Dee and Nick and his wife are
Ellis (whatellisreadnext)
'She made me think of the hungry, bright-plumed birds on her William Morris wallpaper: her beak might gape at the ripe, bursting pomegranates, but they'd always be out of reach.'
Dee, a live in nanny is being questioned about the disappearance of the child that was under her care. As she is interrogated, we learn the history of the household and what happened over the months she worked there.
I can't help but feel like this was a case of right book but wrong time. Thrillers lately, especially
Ophelia Sings
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I adored Lucy Atkins' previous book, The Night Visitor, so it was with some relish I embarked upon Magpie Lane. My goodness. I was NOT expecting to love it this much, or have discovered one of my books of the year by February.

Dee is a dour Scottish nanny, called upon to take care of troubled eight year old Felicity by the child's thoroughly dreadful parents Nick and Mariah. The latter is, in actual fact, Felicity's stepmother - and the loss of her mother Ana has affected her deeply. Dee, while
Louise Wilson
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up to 4

Felicity is eight years old. Her dad, nick is an Oxford college master and her stepmother, Mariah is a designer. They hire Dee to be Felicity's nanny. Felicity is a selective mute. But now Felicity has disappeared.

This is another story about a dysfunctional family. The story is told from Dee's point of view. It's action packed, tense and a bit creepy. We are told the story police interview and the events that took place over the months leading up to Felicity's
Ellie (bookmadbarlow)
This character driven story unfolds from an interview room and is slowly unravelled throughout, the author dropping bits of information every now and then which certainly kept me guessing until the end.
I would probably call this book a domestic noir, the dark happenings within a family unit, everyone a bit unhinged and the nanny with something to hide.
I tend to struggle with unreliable narrators/characters and I did find my mind wandering at times, but the Oxford setting was nicely described and
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can highly recommend this book. As usual I am not going to reiterate any plot details - there are plenty of other reviews out there if that's what you are looking for!

The prose is well written, and the well crafted plot is extremely intriguing - with lots of flashbacks, hidden secrets, a mysterious house in Oxford, and more...

Some excellent characters. I really liked Dee (is she telling the truth, and can she be trusted?) and also Felicity (a strange little girl with a lot going on in her
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is set in Oxford about a Scottish nanny, Dee, who over the years has worked for various families there. She obviously feels she doesnt belong there and you gather she also has some secrets in her past. Her latest charge is Felicity the 8 year old daughter of a Oxford master. She is selectively mute, having experienced the trauma of losing her mother at 4 years old. Her father and his new wife, are the most neglectful parents that Dee has come across over the years. Felicity goes ...more
Louise Wilson
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded up to 4

Felicity is eight years old. Her dad, Nick is an Oxford college master and her stepmother, Mariah is a designer. They hire Dee to be Felicity's nanny. Felicity is a selective mute. But now Felicity has disappeared.

This is another story about a dysfunctional family. The story is told from Dee's point of view. It's action packed, tense and a bit creepy. We are told the story through the police interview and the events that took place over the months leadingupto Felicity's
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Lucy Atkins is an award-winning author, Sunday Times book critic and journalist. Her new novel, Magpie Lane, is a literary thriller narrated by the nanny of a missing girl, and set in an Oxford College. Her other novels are The Night Visitor, The Other Child and The Missing One.

Lucy reviews books for The Sunday Times and has written for newspapers such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph,

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