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 was 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.
"The word-of-mouth success of lockdown...riveting, twisty, page-turning stuff" - The Guardian
"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
"A creepy, suspenseful thriller set against the dreaming spires of Oxford" - Independent
"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
"The page turner you've been looking for. Sly, witty and gripping...I loved it" - Naomi Alderman
"An excellent psychological thriller that’s hard to put down" - Daily Mail
"The characters are well developed and there’s a real sense of menace" - Good Housekeeping
"Tense, perceptive and meticulously plotted, MAGPIE LANE is an intelligent exploration of privilege, belonging, grief and parental responsibility" - The Observer
"MAGPIE LANE is a rare thing . . . Simply stunning" - Daily Express
"Atkins dramatically delves into what it means to be family and how terrible this bond can be" - Woman Magazine
"Creepy and compelling" - The Times
"MAGPIE LANE is an unputdownable novel that will keep you reading long into the night" - Culturefly
"A gripping read with great characters" - Prima
"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" - Claire Fuller
"Immersive, unsettling and hugely addictive. I loved all the Oxford details. Superb"
- Will Dean
"MAGPIE LANE is deliciously dark and keeps flipping your certainties on their head from start to finish" - Alexandra Shulman
"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" - Polly Samson
"A sinewy, supple and gorgeously satisfying triumph" - Lucy Mangan
"Tense, perceptive and meticulously plotted, MAGPIE LANE is an intelligent exploration of privilege, belonging, grief and parental responsibility." - The Guardian
“Chilling.” - I paper, “40 best books for summer”