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Of Magpies and Men

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Can any good come of longings that a person can never satisfy? If so, good for whom?

Two corpses wash ashore in a picturesque Italian village, the violence that put them there is bound to a long-held secret and two strangers living worlds apart with seemingly nothing in common.

Benedict Grant a wealthy Londoner, leading a lonely life.

Marie Boulanger a nurse and single mum,
Paperback, 330 pages
Published February 2nd 2021
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  121 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: author-provided
Of Magpies and Men by Ode Ray

Once you read this book, the cover really makes sense and I enjoy looking at it, trying to "piece" together everything.

Benedict Grant is a wealthy, workaholic, who uses people as playthings or a means to get what he wants and they are all disposable, hardly making a blip on his consciousness. Is it any wonder that he's lonely, with his loving but secretive mother being his best and only real friend? He will do anything to stay in his mother's good graces and he's kn
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
2-3 stars

Two male bodies wash ashore in Italy with the subsequent investigation led by Detective Paoli. How do these as yet unidentified men connect to wealthy Benedict Grant in London and to Marie Boulanger, a nurse in Marseille? The mystery unfolds in varying timelines.

‘Good morning Mr Magpie, how’s your wife?’ Single magpie salute and a warning which some characters should have heeded. At the beginning of the book there are some good magpie images and references which seem to vanish as the
Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️(on a break)
Many thanks to the author for a copy of this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.

First and foremost, I am so grateful to the author Ode Ray for having given me a chance to read such a wonderful work. I have always known there are some outstanding gems hidden among all the millions of books being published that for multitude of reasons may not catch the public eye but they are undoubtedly the best out there. Of Magpies and Men is one of those ‘diamond of the first water’.

From the prolog
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
"I am putting this to one side for the time being. This is a book that requires a great deal of attention, and I am currently unable to give that. I plan to come back to it when I am not quite so tired. This is a reflection on me, not the quality of the book." ...more
Nov 07, 2020 added it
Shelves: netgalley, lgbtqia
In light of a message I received from the author, I have come to the conclusion to amend and redact my initial review. Miss Ode has graciously adjusted/fixed many of the issues I presented within my review, and has crafted something worthy. I have removed my star rating, as I did not finish the book in its entirety, and should never have reviewed so harshly a debut ARC. That is my own opinion. I’m not usually such an a**hole, and presented an unfair disadvantage with a low score. I’m leaving par ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs
Many thanks to the author Ode Ray for an early copy of this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.


I finished this minutes ago. The best novel of the year!!! It's not only an absolute favourite, it makes my top 5 best book - OUTSTANDING!!!! I loved it sooooo much, I'm in a state of loss after finishing such a phenomenal book! I'll need to go steady starting another.

Ode Ray is such a powerful, well-written storyteller and my attachment to the characters i
Ode Ray
Jan 09, 2021 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I think this probably is the best debut novel I've written. ...more
Prerna A
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Initially, the book follows three independent stories at different places in the world and one thinks, "Seems interesting, but how is this all linked together?" However, the author answers your questions as you progress in the story and beautifully links the stories together.

The story is filled with amazing twists and turns. At any point, you think you know the story and where it is leading, but the author totally proves you wrong and does a great job at twisting the story.

I loved the way one
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an unusual and compelling story which I thoroughly enjoyed. There are so many different themes running through it and told with a wonderful dry humour which really appeals to me.

There’s intrigue. It opens in Italy where a boat containing two dead bodies has crashed into a harbour. A seemingly insignificant detective is investigating how they met their death.

It then moves back seven years and in alternating chapters we meet Benedict and Marie. Benedict an apparently rich 30 year old finan
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was given a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Ode!

I had to give myself a full 24 hours before writing my review because I wouldn’t be able to write a coherent sentence. This book is fantastic! The twist and turns this book took me through was exhilarating and I almost wish I could go back and read it again for the first time to experience that rush!

The characters are so well rounded and you form such a bond with them. There are times where I felt myself either tear up, squ
Sync With Ink
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First of all, a mighty big thank you to the author Ode Ray for providing me with the ARC of this wonderful novel. Of Magpies And Men releases on 02/02/2021 and I strongly recommend you to go get a copy!

Benedict Grant is a frontrunner who lives a posh life in London.

Marie Boulanger is a nurse who is raising a son while struggling financially.

With absolutely nothing in common with each other, fate pulls Benedict and Marie together. Tough decisions, family problems and complicated events cre
Georgia Bower
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is a wonderfully descriptive book with insightful, amusing social commentary from the very start, as Ode Ray describes a couple of frivolous holidaymakers. The man battles with his newspaper whilst trying to ask his wife a trivial question about whether Italian or French men are sexier, but she cannot hear him. This prologue acts as a fantastic juxtaposition to the discovery of the murder, showing how Ray skilfully balances the light with the dark throughout this novel, so as not to make it t ...more
Claire Richmond
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
‘Two bodies wash ashore in a picturesque Italian village, the violence that put them there is bound to a long held secret.....’ Oh my goodness this book was so good! I read it in day. Firstly, a huge thank you to the author for sending me an ARC to read. It did not disappoint.

The story follows the lives of three strangers living a world apart, seemingly with nothing in common. The story jumps between their individual stories and also back and forth in time. How are they all connected to the murd
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, thank you so much to the author, Ode Ray, for giving me an advanced copy of this book to read, I loved it.
This book was gripping from the outset and full of humour between witnesses and the police and gives a great insight into what will happen in the book, as it gets right into it by discovering the bodies.
It goes on to jump between locations, perspective and time of where the characters are, and slowly draws each of them together, in other books jumping from different places can bec
Candy Watts
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I loved reading this book, especially taking me through the areas and environments of the characters and giving the opportunity to get to know the characters before you're blasted into their lives and how the twists and turns lead them in many directions. There are twists that I didn't see coming but for me the overriding positive was the authenticity of the characters. I like the fact it covers topics that need exploring and I loved the fact that the characters were true to life - warts and all
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
This story starts with two dead bodies found off the coast of Italy investigated by Detective Giandomenico. This beginning was kind of inauspicious then became more pronounced as the story unfolds and you wonder if you know them the more details come out. There are a few characters that we meet and follow their journeys until they meet eachother. I love these kind of stories that weave through eachother.

Benedict Grant is a posh Englishman navigating his life fighting his sexuality because of his
N.L. McFarlane
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am so grateful to have been given this ARC to review from the author. The plot was mind blowing, one moment you are confident you know what's going to happen, the next you sit back down in your place to read the actual outcome which was nothing like what you thought xD. The twists and the characters are so well thought out that they are almost there with you acting out the story as tou read it and the emotions are so evident within the pages. This was a fantastic read although that ending... I ...more
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There were many things that drew me into this book, starting from page 1. What begins as a mystery evolves into a fascinating story of love, loss, ambition, and fighting to rise above - no matter what. The characters are well developed, relatable, fun, and sometimes very humorous. There were several points when I was reading that I paused and thought to myself "Oh yes, I know someone *just* like that!". It's very cleverly written so that it was generally not possible to predict what would come n ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exceptionally well written, clever and well thought story line ! Interesting characters and great details make it a very real and exciting story. Would highly recommend for any one looking for some quality reading.
Vaish -bookishbelle1008
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would like to thank the author for giving me an ARC of this book 📖.

Two strangers living worlds apart are brought together by a secret that leads to two corpses washing up on the shore of an Italian village.

This is not a book I would normally find myself picking up, however from the first page I was simply hooked! The twists and turns that carried through the whole story had me wanting more. We see our MC’s, Marie and Benedict grappling with their internal struggles and the underlying themes
Oct 28, 2020 added it
Shelves: arc-netgalley
UPDATED review posted on 10/11/2020:

Since posting my original review of the ARC, the author had reached out to me and we had a couple of exchanges about the points I made in my review. The author graciously took my review as constructive criticism and edited the book accordingly, then shared some specific edits with me.

I can't speak for the entire book, but I can't in good conscience leave my original review un-edited as the issues I raised in it seem to be fixed now. I have told the author t
Lili M
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I was hooked from page 1. Its story really talked to me at a personal level. I was particularly drawn to Yukinobu's character which as a Japanese lesbian I found appealing and rarely portrayed in novels which was refreshing. I also found his back story moving and deftly weaved into the storyline. I'd like to think that he was like an older male version of myself and I really hope that someday I will find my Benedict(a). Even if Benedict was a bit of unlikeable at the beginning ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really loved Of Magpies and Men. Admittedly, it took me a while to get into it. I didn't love Benedict's character and a few elements of the writing weren't my preferred style. This is why I think it took me a while to get into it. However, once I got into it, it completely took me over. I fell in love with Marie and her entire story. I was genuinely surprised at the ending (a rare occurrence for me). It was an intricate and convoluted crime that came together in the end without being too out ...more
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book which draws you into the lives of a woman and her child, two men and a detective. How it all fits together was a surprise. The end left me with a fuzzy warm feeling and a bit sad. You will not regret reading this book and may feel that your outlook has been widened.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Many thanks to the author for the advanced copy. Really enjoyed this book. The skipping between different places and timelines was smoothly done. I loved the characters, specially Benedict. All the stories connected easily and they all made sense in the end. Oh yeah, the end was my favorite after all the heartache and loss that the characters experienced.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
“When it came to his family, his wants would always come after their needs.”

The book starts off with a couple on vacation in Italy being questioned on two dead bodies found close to where they were staying.

The story then runs to Benedict, a rich extravagante banker who is eager to hide his sexual orientation. On the other hand, there’s Marie Boulanger, a nurse trying to tie her life together while struggling financially and bringing up a son.

Although the events and characters initially seem unc
Rich Voisin
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I genuinely loved reading this book . From page one the characterisation pulls you in and you can't help but care about and wish well for each of the individuals.

The plot has twist upon twist which I guarantee will keep you hooked right until the very end .

A wonderful book and highly recommended.

Thank you Ode Ray for allowing me a preview .
Paul DJ
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After a long spell of ‘Sahara desert’ crossing of dull stories, this book was an oasis of escapism. At first, I thought I would not like the interlocking timelines but it was so well done that I didn't mind it at all. It all came together in the end, each piece fitting into this puzzle of a story. Great read. It took me two weeks but I was never bored and never wanted to give up. In fact, I spent so much time with the characters I missed them when it finished.
Nb. I was sent a copy in exchange fo
Claire Livingstone
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Of Magpies and Men was a very enjoyable read. The author Ode Ray did a great job of making this novel humorous and introducing likeable characters. Benedict was my favourite point of view to read, his discovery to figure out himself was very well written.

I really liked that this novel switched points of views, I think to build to the plot twist the switching of POVs was a great touch. The written was excellent and was easy to follow even with the jumping POV's.

The different layers in this stor
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
xFirstly, huge thank you to Ode Ray for sending me a copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review.

CW: References to homophobia, domestic violence

In the present day, two bodies have been found washed ashore in Italy however in order to identify who they are we are taken to London and Marseille seven years ago… In London we meet Benedict, a successful but lonely man and just outside of Marseille we meet Marie, a single mum who works as a nurse to do the best she can for her little boy. Howev
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I'm a debut author. I was born just outside of Marseille, France. Since 2007, I've been based in leafy Oxfordshire, UK with my family.

After spending most of my working life as a Marketer, educating consumers about the wonders of anything from laundry detergents to honey, I finally decided to put pen to paper to write “stories” of a different kind. Between school pick-ups and whilst also looking af

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