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Magpie Lane

Narrated by: Susie Riddell
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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. 

©2020 Lucy Atkins (P)2020 Quercus Editions Limited

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Wonder marvellous wonderful

This is my favourite book so far and I’d never heard of Lucy Atkins. She is a terrific mystery writer the characters so warm but angular. The only bit I hate is the last 5 minutes. I am blissfully lost in this story and characters.

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  • V. O'Regan
  • 04-04-2020

Excellent atmospheric tale

This was a highly atmospheric novel that was well suited to the audiobook adaptation given its format of an internal dialogue by its lead. The name given to Dee by the Daily Mail was totally on point

3 people found this helpful

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  • SandraL
  • 05-05-2020

Fabulous - one of my favourite books this year

This is my first book by Lucy Atkins and is one of my favourite listens so far this year.

It's the story of the disappearance of a young girl, told by her nanny in flashbacks during police interviews. The writing is brilliant. The cast of characters is fascinating - the maths obsessed nanny, the selectively mute girl, the arrogant College Master, the pregnant Danish stepmother, the wonderfully eccentric House Detective, and there's even a cat called Fibonacci. The setting of Oxford is described beautifully, and the house is creepy and has a priests hole.

To top all this, the narration by Susie Riddell was superb! I will definitely be listening to more by this author. Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rachel Redford
  • 02-05-2020

Really fresh and original

Categorising this book as a thriller , or even a crime novel, does it a great dis-service. There are certainly some intriguing mysteries, but above all it's a story of the healing power of love. I loved it.

The setting is in the house of an Oxford College Master, with its sinister priest's hole and prized William Morris wallpaper, where Dee, rootless in Oxford and far from her Scottish home, is looking after Felicity, the 8 year-old daughter of the authoritarian Master who lives with his blonde, pregnant Danish second wife, Mariah, who fails utterly to understand Felicity. They are hopelessly negligent parents to Felicity who, traumatised by the death of her mother (more of that mystery ensues), has been an elective mute for the last 4 years.

The gradual trust, love and finally speech between Dee and Felicity is endearingly developed, as is the growing relationship between Dee and Mr Linklater, the local historian who is researching the past of the Master's rambling house. Crimes have been and are committed. How did Felicity's mother die if not from cancer as her husband claimed? What happened to Dee's baby girl? Answers to similar questions are drip fed seamlessly and unshockingly into the narrative, merging with the crimes committed in previous centuries in the Master's secret-holding old house. We're constantly being pressed to question crime and punishment.

Right at the beginning Felicity has gone missing and the story weaves backwards and forwards, taking in the police investigation. It's not until the Epilogue when we're rooting for the 'crime' to go unpunished that the mystery if Felicity's disappearance is solved.

I liked the narration: Dee's Scots accent and Mariah's Danish, which becomes slightly more manic as her life disintegrates, are well done. Unusual and absorbing!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sherry-lyn
  • 28-04-2020

Disappointing

I enjoyed this book at the beginning but the end was really predictable, felt cheated

1 person found this helpful

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  • R. Ash
  • 23-05-2020

Brilliant read

This combined so many great elements - gothic atmosphere, history of Oxford and a lot of general creepiness. The story was great and the narration superb. I could see where it was going but it still kept me hooked.
I also wavered so much between sympathy and annoyance with some of the characters. And then ending, as mentioned, was on a sort of cliffhanger but I so much wanted 'them' to get away with it.

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  • Mr Chops
  • 18-05-2020

Good but not quite

Atmospheric tale, superb voice acting, interesting characters, plot and locations. A couple of reviewers complained about the ending - I disagree, the reader discovers whodunnit, how and why so not sure what they were referring to. My only criticism is that I find the ouse of literary devices to build tension by having characters avoid asking the obvious question that most people would eventually ask, very annoying. The plot didn’t move fast enough for me and I skipped chapters. I will try another by Lucy Atkins and definitely by Susie Riddell

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-2020

Brilliant

Slightly slow start but i had to remind myself to breathe for the last few chapters. Absolutely compelling.

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  • pennyforthem
  • 10-05-2020

Clever and enjoyable

This was brilliantly performed. A clever enjoyable psychological whodunnit with some excellently drawn characters. It was a wee bit slow in the middle otherwise would’ve given it five stars.

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  • Billy
  • 27-04-2020

Great narrator and good story

Really enjoyed this book, it was very well written, kept me engaged for hours. I'd have liked to hear more about Felicity and her mother, and Dee's daughter and less about the University and I almost turned it off, and then it got really good! The author was making sure we knew every character, their setting and why people did the things they did. The narrator was exceptional, I'll look for more books by the same author and those of the same narrator next, its the best book I've listened to for a while. Thank you!

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  • Janet biglari
  • 27-04-2020

Fantastic book clever and engagaing

I loved this book the first I have read by this author. I found all of the characters to be very well developed and it was easy to have empathy or dislike for them. The author's depiction of little felicity was very compelling and gradually finding out the reason for her selective muteness gave the character of the child depth. I enjoyed the setting of Oxford and thought the inner workings of college life was well researched and made the story very believable. I liked the fact that one never quite knew whether Dee's interpretation of events was real or her own imagination. Clearly Nick and Mariah were awful self-obsessed individuals. I loved the narrator and thought she was very clever to be able to switch from Scottish to Danish so quickly. I will certainly look at other works by this author.