Roaming through Oxford's secret passages and hidden graveyards, Magpie Lane explores the true meaning of family - and what it is to be denied one.
'The word-of-mouth success of lockdown . . . riveting, twisty, page-turning stuff' Guardian
A 'best books of 2020' pick for 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
'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
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 - Sarah Perry
Tender, creepy and gripping - Sunday Times
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 - Guardian
Deliciously enjoyable - Sunday Mirror
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 - Louise Candlish
Clever and creepy, twisty yet tender: Magpie Lane will have you hearing footsteps overhead in an empty house. I loved it - Erin Kelly
'Full of hidden chambers, and some of them are haunted . . . part thriller, part love story, wholly beguiling. I was glued to every page' - Mick Herron
'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!' - Sarah Vaughan
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.